Adam Klein Keeps It Close to the Ground

The first thing that strikes you about Adam Klein is his voice. On the surface, it’s nothing remarkable, but it’s one of those easygoing, naturally trustworthy voices that makes you want to listen a little closer, that makes you believe what he is saying. Then you start paying attention to his words and it dawns on you that Klein ranks in the upper tier of current Georgia-based folk-rock singer-songwriters.

That conclusion is certainly backed up by the ten songs presented on Low Flyin’ Planes, the Atlanta/Athens musician’s seventh album. The array of musicians Klein assembled for the recordings, tracked in Mississippi with producer Bronson Tew, wrap each song in a comfortable shawl of sound, something occasionally akin to a soft-focus vision of early ’70s Byrds or Jackson Browne fronting Dire Straits.

Most of the tracks are pretty laid back. “Look Out” is subtitled “Doraville,” and there’s a song called “Dog Days,” so maybe Klein’s not-so-subtly expressing his love of ARS. But the best – and most upbeat – song is simultaneously both its funniest and most depressing. Amid a peppy jangle-rock setting, “Too Cool for School” finds Klein and co. “down at Hendershot’s/ We were havin’ the final round/ Give it everything we got/ Playin’ to an empty crowd/ And all the kids at the 40 Watt/ Dancin’ to the next big sound/ Tight jeans and bubblegum hair/ Hands in their pockets with an empty stare… I know I’ll never be cool like you.” That’s probably true – Klein’s a traditional singing storyteller. He’s never been trendy and never will be. But if Silent Disco and Zumba After Dark are an indication of what it takes to draw anyone to the 40 Watt these days, he should count his blessings.