Adler & Hearne score a knockout at Uncle Calvin's

Here's Dallas Morning News writer Michael Granberry's review of the night we headlined at Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse in Dallas on Friday, June 22, 2012...

And here's a cut and paste of the content of the review!:


Duets done well are extraordinary musical creations. Duets showcase individual voices, but in their finest moments, they merge two voices that somehow create a third. The best examples include the Everly Brothers, Simon and Garfunkel, Tammy Wynette and George Jones.

Adler & Hearne is the duo of Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne, who grew up in Protestant homes where church music was a family calling. Adler became a budding gospel singer and songwriter, who wrote a song covered by Debby Boone. She also co-wrote the theme song for the PBS children’s series, Wishbone. And last year, as the only female finalist, she won the 23rd annual B.W. Stevenson Singer-Songwriter Memorial Competition at Poor David’s Pub.

Hearne traveled extensively with country legend Roy Clark, with whom he appeared on the TV comedy Hee Haw, on the Tonight Show and in the acoustic wonderland of Carnegie Hall. He’s also an impeccable songwriter who can play the daylights out of his battered, Willie Nelson-like guitar.

From 2005 to 2009, Adler & Hearne ran Crossroads Coffeehouse & Music Co. in Winnsboro in the Piney Woods, importing to their little corner of deep East Texas such talents as Jimmy LaFave, John Gorka, Ruthie Foster and Kinky Friedman.

Lucky for us, Adler & Hearne had dreams of their own. They recently released their third album, Live at Eddie’s Attic. Since 2009, they have toured extensively, from the East Coast to the West, from the Deep South to the Upper Midwest. Friday night, they arrived in Dallas, gracing Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse with three fast-moving hours of exquisite music. Making the show even more memorable was Kate Hearne, Lindy’s multi-talented daughter, a gifted guitar player and vocalist who opened the show, then added her own electric-guitar wizardry to Adler & Hearne’s set. During the warm-up portion, Kate got expert backing from talented bassist Garrett Paine Gridley, who at one point offered a terrific instrumental solo that drew a rousing ovation.

Adler & Hearne opened the main set with the moving ballad “River Wide, River Deep,” during which they solved the secret to a good duet, finding the elusive third voice that powered more than 20 songs with blissful harmonies. Hearne, who teaches guitar to aspiring students in Fort Worth, provided terrific string work with that battered instrument that added its own rare sound to the evening’s mix.

Adler & Hearne’s second song “Stranger in the House of Love” underscored the power of their ability to craft duets. But it also highlighted the distinction of each singer’s individual voice. Adler’s passionate lyric touches blend beautifully with Hearne’s mellow baritone.

Hearne has written many songs over the years with Hal Greenwood, one being a quirky gospel song titled “Put Me On the Stove” that contains the lines, “I’ll be the onion, you be the stew, put me on the stove and call me done.” Great to hear it Friday night. Hearne and Greenwood, who was part of the near-capacity crowd at Uncle Calvin’s, have collaborated on dozens of memorable tunes over the years.

The other remarkable aspect of the Adler-Hearne show was the duo’s range. They offer an eclectic mix that covers gospel, jazz, blues, singer-songwriter confessional tunes, even sweet moments of heavenly cabaret. Adler the singer-songwriter scored heavily with “Alarms,” which offers solace to anyone who can’t help letting a badly needed paycheck trump passion. This is an example of the power of her lyrics:

We muster up the will to do the things we must.

We hold our tears and leave our dreams to rust.

We count the hours. We make the list.

We cash the check. We wonder what we missed.

She worked a series of 9-to-5 jobs before being able to follow her dream, with Hearne by her side, and the joy they share comes through in every note of every song.

Humor also is an Adler & Hearne strong suit. Hearne’s “The Egg’s Lament” is downright hilarious, with its punch line being something we can’t even quote in a family newspaper (or in one of its blog items). “Prayin’ for the Camel,” a rich man’s plea to let him into heaven, was another light diversion that added balance to a powerful ensemble of songs. Adler led the way on “A Hundred Years from Now,” another searing ballad that, in addition to movingly memorable lyrics, offered a breezy Brazilian blues feel.

If anything, the Adler-Hearne show was like an East Texas buffet of killer desserts. Think musical versions of blackberry cobbler and banana pudding. Rounding out the spread was “Hollerin’ the Hills,” a tribute to the Piney Woods and the 18 acres where Adler and Hearne live, a place they call the Spring Hollow Organic Song Farm. Hearne took the lead on “Addicted to You,” a marvelous ode to love gone wrong that contains the line “I wish they had a patch for you.”

The versatility extended to instrumentation, with Hearne adding harmonica and mandolin to his fine old friend, the guitar.

In all, it was yet another show adding to the legacy of Uncle Calvin’s, which later this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. It’s no secret to some of us why a musical such as Once all but swept the recent Tony awards. Once is not Oklahoma! or South Pacific. It’s folk music, or as Adler calls it, “music of the heart,” which fills a need in these troubled times better than any. With commercial radio full of crap — Hearne offered one tune that extolled the glory days of Top 40, which we all miss — it’s a healing experience to hear such a duo as Adler & Hearne. Individually, they’re terrific, but their talents call to mind the TV commercial that thrived during the Top 40 era: “Two mints are better than one.”

In their case, two voices form a musical mint that really is better than one, as Adler & Hearne proved over and over in a memorably moving Uncle Calvin’s evening.


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