Adam Torres returns home from worldwide tour


(L-R) Dailey Toliver (bass), Adam Torres (guitar/vocal) and Thor Harris (drums).   

By Tara Pettit

Wanderlust, international adventure, and the opportunity to take on “wide open space” recently sent Athens-based and beloved singer-songwriter Adam Torres abroad to discover new geographies and landscapes while connecting audiences to the more expansive contours his latest album explores. Several months abroad and a world tour are bringing him back home to the rolling hills of Ohio where he, along with Wild Pink, will join local Speaking Suns for a return home show in Dayton.

Torres’ more recent musical style transcends the former “down to earth” quality demonstrated in his first self-released album, which remains a local favorite and characteristic of the geography and locale of the close-knit college town of Athens. “Pearls to Swine,” however, conceptually embraces “wide open space” by experimentally exploring the heights and depths that musical range and mental abstraction can reach. Songs like “Juniper Arms” capture qualities of atmospheric void which are representative of Torres’ Albuquerque birth place and current Austin residence, both of which the song is about.

The ethereal energy of the album as a whole, in contrast to the more intimate and familiar resonance of Nostra Nova, points to Torres’ own internal examination and external reflections on the state of the environments he finds himself in. His quasi-dismay of the state of the world around him and hopeful yearning to the Americana of earlier periods, lends one to believe Torres is searching for definition and ownership of place while yearning for the one place he can call home. In “Pearls to Swine,” Torres boldly forays into previously unexplored musical territories, both melodically and conceptually, while embracing the ever-shifting influences that geography and location have on ones sense of place, recognition of home, and its dynamic play on the human psyche.

For Torres, the output of material featured on “Pearls to Swine” is a result of 10 years of personal evolution and growth, both internally and through his changing environments, as well as changes in the state of the world since the time “Nostra Nova” was recorded in 2006. In that time Torres made several moves—after Athens, he lived with his parents in Switzerland, volunteered in Ecuador, and finally settled in Austin where he signed with Fat Possum Records and began recording “Pearls to Swine.” Throughout a time of personal transition, he also embodied much of the turmoil and degradation experienced by society at large during that period, which is evident on the album’s shifting planes of conscious rumination and emotional dystopia.

Torres says it’s difficult to compare his two albums because he was a different person when “Nostra Nova” was recorded 10 years ago.

“With my newer music, I feel an urgency to communicate the loneliness, decay, and desertification of our society that we’re currently experiencing,” Torres said. “I think we are in serious trouble socially, politically, and emotionally—much more than we were ten years ago.”

Similar to the effects geography and place have had on Torres’ writing, the experience of being on tour and playing in different environments profoundly influences the energy, message, and level of connection he brings to his performances.

“Different places evoke different emotions for me…even just different moments in any given tour can influence where I’m at on stage or where the rest of the band is energy-wise,” he said. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a certain amount of chaos and relativity to touring and on any night, depending on where I am, I can feel really euphoric, or maybe the other way around.”

That’s why Torres is genuinely looking forward to the familiarity and kinship that come with performing in Ohio and reclaiming the sense of home he longingly sings about in “Mountain River.”

“Playing in Ohio is special for me because I spent my childhood there and a lot of memories and people I love still live there,” he said.

On the journey home, Torres will meet up with Brooklyn trio Wild Pink, a mid-fi ‘90s influenced band reminiscent of early Death Cab for Cutie, who musically will fit right in to the typical stylistic musings that appear in the Dayton indie rock scene and which local fans go for. Although the band members live in Brooklyn, Wild Pink reportedly “seeks the familiar in their dynamic surroundings”—a perfect pair-up with the homebound Torres.

Also joining Torres and Wild Pink on the Dayton stage is Yellow Springs-based Speaking Suns, who released their debut recording, “Vanishing County” in 2014 and which gained a large following across the Midwest and East coast.

Torres says he is excited to meet up with the bands in Dayton and to welcome Wild Pink on his travels. Notably road-weary at this point on the tour, he is looking forward to Ohio and a return to Dayton’s stages, where he has previously played at former Canal Street Tavern.

“The shows in Europe have been like a good dream and most everyone is kind,” he said. “But I can’t wait to see some old familiar faces at Yellow Cab.”

Undoubtedly, the Dayton community is honored to welcome Torres and tour for a night of rekindling and to help Torres find that special sense of place, a recognition of what it means to be at home.

Adam Torres, Wild Pink, and Speaking Suns play Friday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. at the Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 E. 4th St. in Dayton. For more information about the show, visit the Facebook event page at TinyURL.com/Torres-YCT or EventBrite.com.

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Tara Pettit
Tara Pettit is a regional journalist and communications specialist with a focus on the arts, social/environmental justice issues, and community activism. She is passionate about cultivating intentional community and engaging in collaborative creative projects that make healthy community possible. Reach her at TaraPettit@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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