Five Questions With… Adam Baldwin
The Nova Scotia rocker exorcised personal demons in writing his new EP. Here he describes that process, recalls Tom Petty tapes, and his love for “Unchained Melody."
By Jason Schneider
A couple of years ago, at his home beneath the MacDonald Bridge in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Adam Baldwin exiled himself from his friends and family to try to understand the substance abuse that had spun his life out of control. Writing until he couldn’t write anymore, he eventually distilled the 20-plus songs down to the six that comprise No Rest For The Wicked, his new EP out March 29 on Sonic Records.
Recorded in Halifax and New York City by Gus Van Go and Werner F., the album builds on the promise of Baldwin’s 2016 long-player, No Telling When (Precisely Nineteen Eight-Five). It reveals a new sharpness to the skills he’s honed over the better part of 15 years, toughing it out on the road and in the studio, both solo and as part of Matt Mays’ band.
The end results on No Rest For The Wicked show Baldwin building moody atmospheres that reflect his struggle with addiction, as on the tense, synth-laced first single “Salvation.” True to life, No Rest For The Wicked doesn’t provide any resolution to the conflict at its heart. The title track finds him deep in the darkness at the edge of Dartmouth, coming to terms with the fact that, among the ghosts and shadows of the city, there is no peace to be found.
For more info, go to adambaldwin.ca.
What makes No Rest For The Wicked different from your past work?
The chief difference I think is that these songs were all written after a long, hard look inward instead of outward. I’ve written about things going on around me, but these songs are very much an analysis of whatever is going on in my foggy ol' melon.
What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?
Maybe this is a cop-out, but I am proud of the whole thing. I don’t think any one song could exist without the others. More importantly to me, I’m proud of what writing these songs has led me to learn about myself, and the mess I was able to clean up as a result.
What are your fondest musical memories as you were growing up?
Listening to Tom Petty cassettes in my father’s old Chevy S10.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written?
There’s a ton of 'em, but imagine being the guy who wrote “Unchained Melody"? [Ed. note: music by Alex North, lyrics by HyZaret]. Pulling that out on a date would rule.
What's something you'd like added or changed on your Wikipedia page?
I didn’t know I had one, so I checked it out. Needs a new picture!