By Jhoni Jackson; photo by Kathleen Valpey
Though she typically plays with a band behind her (an exceptionally talented group which includes Little Tybee’s Josh Martin and Ryan Gregory of Book of Colors, to be specific), Adrienne McCann is the primary mastermind behind the craft she calls Adron.
She makes South American tropicália-inspired folk that sounds unlike anything else in Atlanta’s music scene. It’s not standard indie-pop, and it’s certainly not Americana-style folk. You can’t even say she lands somewhere in between – the effervescent quality of her songs seems to keep her floating well above any rigid genre. Her sweet, undulating and consistently on-key voice captivates listeners with its sugary smoothness from the get-go, and the breezy melodies that back her keep a listenable beat regardless of pace.
Let’s not forget the skillful, quirky whistling, either. It’s a consistent motif, and between songs she often makes what sounds like bird calls. Whether it’s a legitimate come hither for flocks or not, I thought she might inadvertently summon a drove large enough to break down the venue’s door. Her latest release, then, is aptly-named – an EP titled Burdworld.
She opened the set solo, playing an acoustic guitar. “Horizon,” she confessed, was written while tripping in a cemetery.
“It made sense at the time,” she laughed.
Style-wise, she could most closely be compared to – but not fully defined by — Devendra Banhart. At times she’s weird, other times she’s melodic. Most often, she’s a pleasurable combination of both.
Wearing a floor-length dress that could have come from Little House on the Prairie’s costume closet, Adron emanated a calming, artsy charm that had the audience hushed for the entire set. You could have heard a pin drop – and if one had, someone would have complained about the interruption.
The band joined her for “Renegade,” a perfectly slow-paced, acoustic-based example of Adron’s twist on Latin American musical traditions. With her trademark whistling mixed in and gentle, minimalist approach, it sounded eerily historical, like a cultural artifact of the Spanish-American war translated for modern use.
Further solidifying Adron’s Latin American-inspired vibe was the upbeat “Bicicleta,” a song entirely in Portuguese – a language she sings as fluently and beautifully in as English. Then “Cannon,” which she explained was about having one’s remains shot out a cannon to be dispersed into the atmosphere. A newer track featured on Burdworld, “Little Face,” made its live debut in a simpler form, without the psychedelic nods heard in the recording. Later, the audience was taken back to Latin America with another song in Portuguese.
No one seemed to mind another song in a language likely indecipherable to all present. Like “Bicicleta,” the song demanded closer attention to Adron’s vocal inflections and her band’s expert musicianship. But any call for effort probably went unnoticed by the audience, who from beginning to end hardly stirred — and appeared completely mesmerized.
Follow Jhoni Jackson on twitter: @jhonijackson