I can’t remember my actual introduction to West London musician, Adam Masterson. We met before I began playing music myself so it must have been sometime in 2007 when he was in New York. However, I cannot pinpoint the exact date in my head like I can for many things (it is indeed a creepy habit, but I cannot help it). I believe our acquaintanceship sprung forth out of recognition in the East Village nightlife scene, wherein we would notice one another in the company of mutual friends and welcome each other with a nod.
On May fifth of that year, I remember catching one of his performances downstairs in Niagara‘s Tiki Bar, which has since been renovated and is now a cocktail lounge bar called Lovers of Today. Prior to the renovation, musicians would play in this somewhat hush-hush lei lounge and the low-brow much-a-muck would congregate the dark, subterranean cubicle. The night I saw and heard Adam there, I was swept away and ultimately inspired by his poignant songs, which emanated from gruff voice and lone acoustic guitar. I instantly fell in love with the rustic lyrics, whimsical melodies, and expressive dynamics of his song Avenue Walk.
Afterwords he invited my friend and I to accompany him to a house party a few blocks down the street at the request of a stranger for a spontaneous performance. Adam was already having fun, and he did not want to ruin the momentum of a good night. Impressed by his humble yet impromptu nature, I followed, intrigued. That after-hours shindig was one of the most fun and entertaining shows that I have ever attended. Adam was less reserved, but nonetheless witty. His clever introductory and between-song banter was salted with moderate, lighthearted joshing for good measure. He was the epitome of a modern-day troubadour: a wandering composer and performer as well as contemporary poet who weaved his song and act together as naturally as a spider spins a web.
Unfortunately Adam’s name remains considerably unrecognized. Constantly, hipsters lament there is nothing worthwhile in today’s music scene. I disagree. Like Adam, many musicians do not receive enough credit. To name a few, there is Brooklyn-based Madison Square Gardeners, who churn out songs so addictive one cannot help but bust a move and scream along. Also, Harper Blynn is a band of inarticulable awesomeness making quite a few names for themselves. Moreover, I think I would be amiss not to mention indie-pop songster Mike Viola. Who? Mike…just trust me and Google him. Might I suggest a certain struggling folk singer (cough, cough) as well.
The last time Adam was in NYC, I happened upon him on Avenue C after 3 p. m. on a Saturday. I took a break from the Banjo Jim’s weekly open mic, where I was testing out some of my own tunes, and, as I took a long drag off my cigarette, I watched him approach in a recognizable, suave swagger. Since we had also encountered each other briefly the night before, I asked him, through an exhale of tobacco smoke, “How late did you end up staying out?”
“Oh, I got home early,” he stated, matter-of-factly. “Four a. m.”
There is probably a song in there somewhere. Dibbs!