A well-known name on the Texas scene is making exciting new music. Jay Boy Adams, who toured with ZZ Top, The Band, Jackson Browne, The Marshall Tucker Band, Joe Cocker and other arena-filling acts in the 1970s and 80s, is back with a new album, The Shoe Box. The new CD has already become a Top Five hit at Americana Radio and also spawned an extensive tour as special guest for the legendary Stephen Stills, not only opening the show, but also playing some guitar and singing back-up vocals as part of Stills band.
The independent Rockin Heart/Smith Entertainment Records release represents the first new music from the West Texas native in many years. The album also features guest appearances by Lee Roy Parnell, Jack Ingram, Marty Stuart and Asleep At the Wheels Ray Benson.
Chances are, more than one of the songs on The Shoe Box will resonate with listeners. The album is a chronicle of both growing older and growing up, of good memories of good friends, and lifes lessons learnedsome of them learned the hard way. Its a record, in other words, of the ups and downs in a singer/songwriters life and the costs that roller coaster ride can impose.
Jay Boy Adams music has always represented a resonant mixture of country, rock and blues, while remaining steeped in tradition. A native of Colorado City, Texas, in the South Plains of West Texas, Adams grew up with the same influences that fueled the music of Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Terry Allen and Butch Hancock, all of whom hailed from nearby Lubbock. Earlier West Texas musical icons such as Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Bob Wills also left their mark.
In 1972, Adams was signed to a management contract by legendary Texas music Svengali Bill Ham, of Lone Wolf Management. Ham, who also kick-started the careers of ZZ Top and Clint Black, put Adams on the road opening for ZZ and caring for Billy Gibbons guitars.
After that apprenticeship, Ham arranged for Adams to be signed to Atlantic Records, and he recorded two albums for Atlantic: Jay Boy Adams (1978) and Fork In the Road (1979), which included an appearance by Jackson Browne. Those vinyl albums have been compared to the legendary first album by another Texan, Willis Alan Ramsey, and have become much sought-after by collectors. And though they generated considerable sales and radio airplay, Jay Boys unique music was neither country or boogie rock, as his record company tried to market him; rather it was closer to the sound of the West Coast rock bands of the 70s, steeped in what has now come to be known as Americana music.
In 1982, Adams got off the merry-go-round and left the music business behind, but he never left the music itself behind - just the spotlight. Call it burn-out, disillusionment or a need to recharge the creative batteries, but Jay Boy Adams simply slipped away. In the intervening years, he carved out a successful career for himself by starting Roadhouse Transportation, a touring coach business that provided buses to many of the same acts he used to tour with. He married and fathered children and, as the saying goes, got on with his life. But he never put down the guitar entirely, and he had friends who never stopped rooting for him.
It was country singer/songwriter Lee Roy Parnell and J.W. Williams (an old friend from Texas Tech University and Lone Wolf Management) who encouraged Jay Boy to get back on the stage again. In March of 1997, Parnell invited Adams to join him onstage on the spur of the moment at a show in San Antonio. Adams found himself with a guitar in his hands, facing a concert audience for the first time in five years, and his love for live performance was re-kindled. Soon after that show, he decided to back home, dust off the cobwebs and get back to work.
The result is The Shoe Box (produced by Jay Boy Adams and Bakersfield, California-based Monty Byrom, perhaps best known for his work with the under-appreciated group Big House), and Adams first sustained tour in 17 years.
Whether performing solo at a songwriters showcase or with his power-packed touring band The Roadhouse Scholars, Jay Boy Adams gift for telling a story through song will gratify both longtime fans and those discovering Adams and his music for the first time.