Adam Faucett (1982–)
Adam Faucett is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Benton (Saline County). With his trademark long beard and powerful voice, one critic called him an artist who “roams the backroads and gas station parking lots of some strange, haunted country, hinting at a terrifying truth behind mundane imagery.” By 2019, he had released five albums as a solo artist, the last two on the Little Rock (Pulaski County) label Last Chance Records. Faucett lives in Little Rock, but he tours regularly with his band, the Tall Grass, across the country and in Europe. With its often dark lyrics and subject matter, he has described his music as “Arkansas Gothic” and “swampy soul.”
Adam Faucett was born on February 24, 1982, in Little Rock to Dan Wylie Faucett and Irma Jane Faucett, both natives of Arkansas. Faucett was the youngest of two children and grew up in a working-class household, spending most of his childhood in Benton. His father was a repairman who fixed copy machines, and his mother worked as a school nurse. Faucett suffers from ocular albinism, an affliction that left him legally blind in one eye and nearly legally blind in the other. Because of his poor eyesight, Faucett was unable to play organized sports as a child. By the time he was twelve, however, he had begun writing songs.
Faucett attended Benton High School, graduating in 2000. As a teenager, Faucett taught himself to play the guitar and developed a unique picking style. Growing up, Faucett loved horror movies—a love that has lent a dark sensibility to many of his songs. He has cited a wide range of musical influences, including Nirvana, Radiohead, Neil Young, Otis Redding, Pavement, and Sonic Youth.
After graduating from high school, Faucett went to Arkansas Tech University in Russellville (Pope County), where he majored in fine art, graduating with a BFA in 2005. In Russellville, he met woodcut artist Neal Harrington, a friend and mentor who began collaborating with Faucett on his album covers. At Arkansas Tech, Faucett played his first paying gigs. He gained recognition with the band Taught the Rabbits. The group had potential but struggled due to frequent line-up changes and lack of exposure. The band was never signed to a label, and Faucett grew frustrated carrying a band in which he was the lead singer, guitarist, and sole songwriter.
After the break-up of Taught the Rabbits, Faucett moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he stayed for a year. It was, nevertheless, a productive time for him as a songwriter. In Chicago, he wrote the material for what became his first solo album, The Great Basking Shark. He recorded the album in 2006 with his backing band the Tall Grass, which consisted of drummer Chad Conder and bassist Jonathan Dodson (Jordan Trotter also plays drums with Faucett on tour). Faucett released The Great Basking Shark using his own money.
Faucett followed The Great Basking Shark with 2008’s Show Me Magic, Show Me Out. In 2011, Faucett released his third album, More Like a Temple, on Spaceneck Collective (a label name Faucett gave for an otherwise self-released album). The release of More Like a Temple attracted the attention of Travis Hill of Last Chance Records, who heard Faucett play at White Water Tavern in Little Rock. Hill signed Faucett to the label soon afterward.
Faucett’s music defies easy categorization, but it is steeped in the sound of classic rock and late-twentieth-century alternative. Lyrically, it examines themes common in alt-country music, such as troubled families, drug abuse, violence, and small-town life. Arkansas has been the subject of some of his best work. In 2014, he released Blind Water Finds Blind Water, his first album on Last Chance Records. The album featured “Benton,” about his hometown, and “Sparkman,” which takes its name from the small town in Dallas County where Faucett has family ties. “Sparkman” concerns the hard living and addiction problems of some of his friends.
Blind Water Finds Blind Water once again showed Faucett’s ability to blend light and dark musical elements, using acoustic and heavy electric guitar in songs that examine personal, fictional, and historical subjects. The album was well received by critics. The website PopMatters called it “a mature, complex work of stunning power.” Another website, American Songwriter, featured Blind Water Finds Blind Water as one of the best fifty albums of the year, ranking it above those by Drive-By Truckers, Old 97’s, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
In the summer of 2018, Faucett released It Took the Shape of a Bird. In the four years between albums, Faucett was touring extensively and also experiencing personal disruptions. He moved six times in four years. On It Took the Shape of a Bird, Faucett once again used Arkansas as a backdrop. The first track, “King Snake,” mentions Camden (Ouachita County) and a woman forced to live there among drunken and sinister relatives.
Faucett is a fixture in the Little Rock music scene, but he likes to record his albums at Blue Chair Recording Studio in Austin (Lonoke County). He has called White Water Tavern in Little Rock a “home” and occasionally plays with the Little Rock band Iron Tongue. After having lived in Chicago and Nashville, Tennessee—and despite his travels abroad—Faucett still appreciates living in Arkansas. Little Rock, he has said, “is cheap; it’s where my family is.” In 2018, the Central Arkansas Music Awards named him Best Songwriter. In December 2018, PopMatters placed It Took the Shape of a Bird at number fourteen on its list of the top twenty Americana albums of the year.
For additional information:
Clancy, Sean. “Ready to Fly: It Took the Shape of a Bird is Singer-Songwriter Adam Faucett’s Latest Creation.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 24, 2018. Online at https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2018/jun/24/ready-to-fly-20180624/ (accessed August 5, 2020).
Sarlo, Aaron. “Singer/Songwriter Adam Faucett Is on His Way.” Arkansas Times, June 27, 2013. Online at https://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/singersongwriter-adam-faucett-is-on-his-way/Content?oid=2940156 (accessed August 5, 2020).
Whitelock, Ed. “Adam Faucett: Blind Water Finds Blind Water.” PopMatters, https://www.popmatters.com/184467-adam-faucett-blind-water-finds-blind-water-2495630912.html (accessed August 5, 2020).
Colin Edward Woodward
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