Adrian’s fourth album Desert Dwelling Mama out 2019, finds the young singer/songwriter emerging as more than the 14 year old cowboy crooner when we first met her through her debut album Highway 80. Blossoming into a mature writer, young woman and performer, the album was Co-produced by Adrian and longtime mentor and recording studio owner Craig Schumacher. The emotional and brassy tones the pair produced were recorded at Wavelab Studios in Tucson AZ with musicians that let their inner cowboy surface as they played. Combining heartfelt and hard hitting lyrics, and the throwback sounds of bluesy guitar riffs and an unbridled originality, Adrian’s new songs will reverberate with Ian Tyson and Tom Russell fans as easily as they do the followers of The Dead South and Nathaniel Rateliff.
Desert Dwelling Mama is a ravenous trip through the fallout pain that abuse and violence can inflict on a young woman’s life, and the love and lifestyle that mended the holes it leaves. The record begins with a raspy homage to tradition with a re-write of the old standard “Buffalo Girls” and concludes with the rollicking and satire soaked “Facebook Buckaroo” that takes no prisoners. In “Queen of the trailer park” and “Happy Ending” Adrian’s old school country vibe and cheeky refusal to subscribe to current body and beauty standards, reminds young women what it means to be true to themselves and proud of who they are no matter what. Likewise the ballad “My old bay friend” pays homage to a long-gone equine partner, while “Black Rock Woman” and “Gunpowder on the wind” tell the story of domestic violence that became strength and power. “Nice Girl” is an ode to the mean girls of the world, (“Gonna be a nice girl gonna say yes ma’am, mind my own business and you can pound sand”) before moving onto “Patsy,” a tribute to one of her earliest musical influences as the lone “true love song” simply titled “Fall for me” reminds listeners of past narrow misses like a punch to the gut.
“Cowboy music fed my soul,” Adrian says, “But traveling across the US by myself, discovering America, and living in an off grid cabin for a year in the Utah wilderness taught me that my music could be much more than I ever believed.”
In 2013 Adrians second album produced by legendary singer/songwriter Tom Russell brought a different sound to the cowboy music world. “I heard the clear potential. I was impressed that she has such a great voice and was so at ease on stage….Adrian is the breath of strong fresh air that the cowboy music scene needs. I was honored to have worked with her.” Following up with her third record “Buckaroogirl,” the girl-power packed cowboy thriller album, Adrian refused to produce a new album right away. “I wanted to produce something I was proud of, not just getting out there like a cookie-cutter version of my old records.” “It was important to me to create something I not only felt was authentic to who I am now at this point in my life, but also to be proud of the quality and caliber of musicians involved.” In the four years since her last album, Adrian says she has spent her time mostly on the road when she wasn’t working on completing her first book (Dear Cowgirl: Letters to Women) or building her small cow herd in northern Utah.
Growing up in a “gypsy family,” Adrian was exposed to the raw beauty of the Scottish highlands and the Nevada sagebrush, the harsh reality of life in a post-iron curtain Ukraine and the adventures of learning French in Switzerland before returning to life in America and falling in love with the west. “I lived in a 14 ft tipi through middle and high school” Adrian reflects, “I was a wild child with un-brushed hair and out of control riding bareback and wishing I had been born a mountain man from the fur trade era. My family not only tolerated, but encouraged my unruly behavior and cultivated my love of the wild places and freedom.”
Hard work, books, trapping, opera (another tale in and of itself) and barefoot adventures into the hills filled Adrian’s childhood, and although her family was not always cowboying for a living or based on huge ranches-the love of working horseback learned from her father always stayed with her. “My dad and sister were the cowboys. My mom and I were the free spirit-cowboys” Adrian says with a smile. “I refused to do things like everyone else. I didn’t care if I was weird or the odd man out, I loved the old school – the different – the roads less traveled.”
When Adrian was 14, her life changed forever with the chance to record an album. An open mic, two newly written songs and a little girl who had been playing a pawn-shop guitar for two weeks suddenly realized her life’s purpose. With the help of an incredible couple (Mike and Liz Vanderhoof) from Utah who saw the clear potential, Adrian picked up the guitar and welded pen and paper like weapons, moving head-on into the career she knows she was meant to pursue to this day. “I realized that I had things to say, a [cowboy] culture I longed to protect, and a spirit that had to wander. It was stumbling into perfection, into meaning and into something I’ve never regretted for a minute. It was like coming home.”
Desert Dwelling Mama is the story of an artist who rode through fire and came out the other side smiling. The gritty black and white record takes the listener to a time long gone, while promising the hope and joy that is always there for those who look for it. “I didn’t find myself,” she says “I was never lost, but this is the first time in my career I let go and was able to be honest and raw in a way I was always afraid to be before. I was ready to be the girl I had always been inside, but never was able to show the world. This is my way of saying, thanks for listening, now sit up and pay attention. I’ve got something to say.”