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Music

Review: Adeem the Artist’s Album is Engaging, Topical, Funny

December 4, 2022

“White Trash Revelry,” Adeem the Artist (Four Quarters/Thirty Tigers)

“Going to Hell,” a banjo-driven romp on the new album “White Trash Revelry,” explains in jest the cause of Adeem the Artist’s unspecified musical limitations.

The East Tennessee-based singer-songwriter has considerable gifts, too, and that’s no joke.

Buzz about Adeem the Artist, who uses the pronoun they, began to build with the 2021 album “Cast-Iron Pansexual.” Their follow-up is a twangy, tangy examination of gender identity, faith, race and other topics of cultural contestation, offered by a blue-collar troubadour with a biting tenor and sharp wit.

A “redneck fundraiser” conducted by Adeem allowed them to start a label and hire a strong supporting cast for “Revelry,” and the resulting range of musical stylings is wide.

The facetious single “Run This Town” sounds like a potential rockabilly anthem for too many election campaigns as it skewers the political process. “Painkillers & Magic” is a Tex-Mex take on hurt that faith can’t heal, and the piano ballad “For Judas” ponders the power of love and pain of betrayal. “Redneck, Unread Hicks” addresses the sanctity of marriage to string band accompaniment, while “Heritage of Arrogance” rocks as it rails against an inheritance of oppression.

Lyrics reference Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash, the Louvin Brothers and Charlie Daniels, reflecting Adeem’s broad musical vocabulary. Limitations aren’t an issue; “White Trash Revelry” is the bracing work of an artist without boundaries.

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