Adam Wright, "I Win" (Independent)
Nashville songwriter Adam Wright may have sensed we could all use a laugh, and so he has released a witty antidote to 2020.
Wright, whose compositions have been performed by such stars as Garth Brooks, Lee Ann Womack and Alan Jackson (his uncle), wisely kept these 12 tunes for himself. The whimsical tone is in the tradition of Roger Miller and Ray Stevens, whose sly humor made songs funny even on repeated listening.
"I Win" is a quarantine accomplishment — one-man-band Wright performed, recorded, mixed and produced the set. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion, overdubs vocals and achieves a charming, demo-style informality that suits the material.
There's nothing casual about Wright's songwriting, however. Craft and care are reflected in the way he packs clever rhymes and wordplay into concise tunes. The set is half an hour long, and one song — the delightful "I'd Be Good" — runs a minute.
Wright's last album, 2018's "Dust," was filled with compelling dark dramas, and not everything here goes for a grin. The love song "Sure Wanna Stay" and the topical "Wonder If the World Can Wait That Long" showcase his yearning tenor.
But Wright sings with tongue in cheek — a nifty trick — about logic, losing at love, cash flow woes and, on "Rhymes With Bucket," a philosophy for life. He offers a tonic for a pandemic on "Cheer Up," singing, "Probably going to be here awhile — smile." This album can help us do just that.