Adam Torres' voice makes Pearls To Swine a constant listen for me. It's high and lonesome, but more frail than the voices of the bluegrass pioneers who defined that sound, like Ralph Stanley. Besides, Torres isn't a country singer or a folksinger so much as an atmospheric storyteller.
It took the musician, now based in Austin but frequently on tour, just a week to record Pearls To Swine, though the album was nearly 10 years in the making. In 2006, Torres was 20 and living in Athens, Ohio, when he put out a debut record called Nostra Nova, which is worthy of cult status. Then his life took a non-musical course.
I first heard his music far more recently, through another Austin musician and Tiny Desk alum (with Shearwater back in 2008), Thor Harris of Swans. I ran into Harris, he raved about this new singer he was touring with, and I heard Pearls To Swine and flipped. I've been writing about Adam Torres a bunch this year, and the more I listen, the more I want to share it.
Listen in particular to the way Torres and Aisha Burns weave his voice and her violin together. It's rare and beautiful. Then there's the delicate percussion and bass that keep it all in motion. In addition to songs from his current record, we also get to hear an unreleased track, appropriately titled "I Came To Sing The Song." I'm thrilled he did.
- "High Lonesome"
- "I Came To Sing The Song"
Adam Torres (vocals, guitar); Aisha Burns (violin); Thor Harris (percussion); Dailey Toliver (bass, keys)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Nicole Boliaux; Editor: Nicole Boliaux; Production Assistant: Anna Marketti; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
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