Sunday, September 8, 2013

Adam Levy

Guitarist, songwriter, journalist, educator

To call Adam Levy a “well-traveled musician” would be a hell of an understatement. During a six-year stint touring as a member of Norah Jones’ Handsome Band, Levy went round the world several times and maxed out the pages of his passport—and then a second one—with country stamps and visas. He first played with Jones at the very beginning of the singer’s career and went on to be the featured electric guitarist on her wildly successful first three albums and DVDs. Levy held the enviable gig through 2007, ultimately leaving to follow his own path as a performing songwriter.

Jones recorded Levy’s “In the Morning” for her Feels Like Home CD in 2004. Since then, Levy’s songs have appeared on discs by lots of successful independent artists—including Ana Egge, Amber Rubarth, and Clarence Bucaro.

Levy released two CDs under his own name while in Jones’ band, and has continued to release new recordings annually since then—some featuring his lyrical songs, some wholly instrumental. His latest is The Heart Collector, praised by No Depression online as “a great album overflowing with warm and soulful songs that enchant the ears and captivate the heart.” Other recent CDs include Washing Day and Live from Sun Studio—the latter tracked, of course, at the legendary Memphis mecca where Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley cut their first acetates.

Jones is not the only top-shelf artist whose music Levy has been party to. He can be heard on Tracy Chapman’s New Beginning (that’s Levy’s laid-back blues solo on “Give Me One Reason”), Amos Lee’s eponymous Blue Note debut (featured on the single, “Arms of a Woman”), Sex Mob’s Din of Inequity, Ani DiFranco’s Which Side Are You On?, and Anaïs Mitchell’s Young Man in America. He has performed onstage with all of these artists—as well as with Rosanne Cash, Lisa Loeb, Dan Hicks, Darol Anger, Joey Baron, and many others.

Levy is also well-known as a writer and journalist, with articles appearing regularly in the pages of Guitar Player and Acoustic Guitarmagazines. And he has earned a reputation as an esteemed educator. He is the author of Jazz Guitar Sight-Reading (book) and Play the Right Stuff (book & DVD), and has led many workshops and masterclasses all across the U.S. and internationally.

Several cities have been home to Levy over the years, including New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. He currently lives in another culture-rich municipality, Los Angeles—which is also the city he was born in.