I will admit to having slept on Adam Carroll for too long. I didn’t take notice when Otis Gibbs mentioned him, right here on 9B, in a guest post. If you knew the sheer volume of music we have to sift through around here then it’s easy to forgive missing something amazing every once in a while. There’s a strange kind of disconnect that comes from listening to a track or two from three to five new records a day and, at least for me, it’s hard to add to that virtual stack of things that you need to listen to. Believe me, I know that having a huge stack of music, sent to you for free, isn’t something a lot of people would complain about but trust me, it can be trying. I’ve said all that to point out that even with all the chaff that comes across the 9B desk there are times when you find something that makes you sit up and take notice, a record that makes you feel a little bit guilty for losing just a little bit of faith in music. That happened to me this morning when I finally queued up Adam Carroll’s Let It Choose You, thanks to the cajoling of Adam Dawson from The Broken Jukebox.

It’s been a long time since I listened to a songwriter that sounds like the Gulf Coast. If you haven’t heard a record that captures that sound, well, here’s your chance. If you’ve ever sat outside on summer night, swatting the bugs, knocking back a Dixie or a Lone Star, at a completely weather inappropriate bonfire then you’ve lived the moments this album feels like. The sun has gone down, all the straights have gone home, and the fire is just getting going, you’re in it until the sun comes up and beer is all gone, and your only worry is hoping the batteries powering the music will last as long as your buzz. This is the soundtrack to a scene I’ve lived too many times to count and hope to repeat as many times as possible.

Let It Choose You is tinged with a touch of the swamps in Louisiana, the beaches of Galveston, the mosquitoes in Houston, and the twang that makes Austin country great layered over Carroll’s understated approach to songwriting. It’s the sort of album that makes you think you’ve heard it before on your first time through it. There’s a familiarity in the tones and melodies that makes listening a very comfortable experience. In fact I was so sure I’d heard it before I dug through all the ways I track music, to no avail. I hadn’t listened any Adam Carroll in recent history and yet it was so comfortable. For that reason alone, for Adam’s ability to craft something this subtle, that I declare Let It Choose You to be Essential Listening.

Tears in My Gumbo
Household Name


  1. Adam Carroll is as good as it gets. In the same tradition as John Hiatt or John Prine, he draws you in with intimate pictures that make you feel like you are right in the story. Unpretentious songwriting mastery. Some day soon, the world will wake up to his work and a LOT of people are going to be doing covers of his material.

  2. Another real good release from him is Hard Times with Michael O’Conner. Came out a few years ago.

  3. Yep, he’s good. For someone who grew up in SE Texas, his stories really resonate. I’ve been on the roads and in the bars.that he writes about, and when I listen to his songs, they put me back there.

  4. Well hot damn put me in the column for being late to the party with Carroll. What an incredible album. Can’t wait now to dig into his previous outputs. Thanks as always 9b! Why i keep coming back and back and back.

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