Adam Brand: 15 years of searching for 'wild adventure'
Whatever gives Aussie music its heart, Adam Brand breathes plenty of life into its soul.
For more than 15 years, Brand has been one of the country's best-loved and most successful recording artists and he will be head lining the Muster in 2015.
Adam Brand is undeniably a fixture of the Australian music landscape. The versatile star has three Platinum and five Gold albums to his name, along with two Gold DVD certifications and a massive twelve Golden Guitars - including double-ups for Male Artist of the Year and APRA Song of the Year. Not to mention multiple Mo Awards and four ARIA nominations for Best Country Album.
In 2014, Brand added yet another landmark album to his catalogue with tenth studio offering, My Side of the Street. A deeply soulful joint, My Side of the Street is sure to add further lustre to Adam Brand's already brilliant output.
Since storming onto the country scene with self-titled 1998 debut Adam Brand, the Perth-born singer-songwriter has been a mainstay of the Aussie music industry. He has increasingly endeared himself to the rock and pop scenes, too.
Brand's popular appeal is indisputable: he took out the public-voted and much-coveted CMC Oz Artist of the Year Award five years in a row, from its inception in 2007 until 2011.
Adam owes a good deal to his enviable early education. Brand's parents saw to it that the budding star was raised to the evergreen hits of Elvis, Kris Kristofferson, The Everly Brothers, and Roy Orbison. Add to that a youthful love of artists from AC/DC to Fleetwood Mac, and an agile musical mind was born.
'Those early experiences of music: they're the roots of your musical soul,' Adam says.
Of course, you can't have soul without rhythm. Beginning his musical trajectory at the age of 10, Brand took up the drums before graduating to percussion duties in his local church ensemble. It was there that he picked up a key ingredient in the soulful sounds of My Side of the Street: a healthy dose of Gospel tradition.
'I love Gospel music - especially its harmonies,' Adam says. 'It's the kind of music that makes the troubles of the day melt away.'
In 1997, with little more than his looks to recommend him, Brand left Perth for Sydney, high-tailing it across the Nullarbor in an old ute in search of "wild adventure".
'I didn't really know where I was going to end up, and in some respects I didn't really care!' Adam recalls of those invigorating early days. 'I've always been like that. With my music, I've never thought, "I don't want to take a chance." I've always wanted to forge new paths.'
Boldness has its rewards. To date, Adam Brand has sold more than 500,000 albums and music DVDs.
Brand wasted no time capitalising on the breakout success of his Platinum-certified debut. Follow-up release Good Friends (2000) spawned three No. 1 hits, and itself went Platinum. The 2001 Golden Guitars were proof-positive of Adam's arrival on the scene. He took out the "big three" awards: APRA Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year.
In 2002, third record Built for Speed debuted at the No. 1 spot on the ARIA Country Charts. Hit records Get Loud (2004) and What a Life (2006) followed in train, before crossover success came with the 2008 release of Adam's sixth album Blame it on Eve, which landed at No. 1 on the ARIA Country Charts and No. 10 on the Mainstream Album Charts.
In 2009, Adam signed with Arista Nashville, joining the fold of labelmates such as Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley, before being selected to accompany megastar Taylor Swift on her North American tour in 2011.
But it's Brand's recent achievements that really speak to his star power. Adam's stellar 2012 release There Will Be Love was a runaway smash, landing at the No. 1 spot on the ARIA Country Charts and No. 4 on the Mainstream Charts, spawning the towering hit 'There Will Be Love' in the process. The album also sketched out many of the Gospel-soul sounds that help make My Side of the Street a high-water mark in Adam Brand's catalogue.
In 2013, having signed with ABC Music, Brand released My Acoustic Diary, a barebones acoustic recap of some of his best-loved songs.
There are funkier numbers, from second track, 'Doing It' to the zesty synth, kettledrum and brass colours of 'Girls These Days', along with pop-rock cuts such as 'Right on the Money', and the laidback 'Under the Sun'. Classic rock also gets more than a passing nod with the pulsing 'Stupid What You Do', and the driving keys, lead and licks of 'Put Em On Me'.
In true Adam Brand style, there are songs of love, heartbreak and redemption, from 'What Your Love Looks Like', to slow ballad 'One Can Be A Lot' to the plucked violins and orchestral strings of ninth track, 'The Hearts I Leave Behind'.
Through it all, the sounds of the Gospel-soul tradition abound. Duet 'Quit This Time' features Jasmine Rae, and is a slow-burning meditation on the pleasure and pain of all-consuming love, while 'Bet Your Mama' combines classic soul flavours with a smouldering vocal delivery.
Closing with a well-chosen cover of Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs' signature hit 'Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy)', Adam Brand proves once again that he's not afraid to look back while surging forward.
Brand assembled a formidable backing band in the making of My Side of the Street, including drummer Pete Drummond (Glenn Shorrock, Dead Ringer Band), bassist Matt Cornell (Richard Clapton, Shannon Noll), guitarist Chris Kamzelas (Jessica Mauboy, Jimmy Barnes), and keyboardist Brendan St Ledger (Wendy Matthews).
'I got a really solid band together,' Adam admits. 'I just said, "let's blast through this like we're on stage!"'
It seems the band didn't need to be told twice.
'We kept on tripping out the speaker system in the studio while we were recording!' Adam laughs. 'This new album definitely touches deeper places, but the whole vibe is positive. It's driving forward - and in some parts, it's driving forward at 100km per hour!'
There's no doubt Adam Brand will covert the thirteen gems he has assembled on My Side of the Street to yet more gold and platinum - not to mention that most precious commodity of all, the continued love and respect of fans and peers, both old and new.