It's been a tough few years for former Atlantans the Wrights, albeit with a few high points thrown in to make it worthwhile. In 1998, Adam and Shannon found each other in the turmoil of the Atlanta open-mic singer/songwriter circuit, playing places such as the Star Bar and Smith's. And as kindred souls, they forged one of the town's finest alt-country acts, Heritage Cherry. When the musical partnership became a romantic one, the couple pulled up stakes and went to Nashville in 2002.
Nashville wasn't easy. But with a lot of hard work and a little help from Adam's country music star of an uncle Alan Jackson, the duo was able to make a fine debut CD on ARC Records. Down This Road is a sweet collection of unique country tunes, rich with the couple's harmonies and traditional instrumentation, and one of the best albums of 2005. But it didn't "rock," and was sadly overlooked by radio and the general public. They got the chance to enjoy the trappings of the major-label lifestyle -- for a while -- until parting ways with ARC Records in August.
Undaunted, the couple has been writing new material and recording, and recently had one of their tunes covered by Solomon Burke on his amazing new Nashville CD. They have found a welcoming and comfortable musical community in Nashville, just to the left of the shallow mainstream industry. The future looks good for the Wrights, with growing recognition of their songwriting skills and the respect of many other artists. And thankfully, they seem to enjoy coming home to see us every now and then.
The Wrights perform at Smith's Olde Bar Sat., Dec. 16, with Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison and Seth Walker. $17.50 and two cans of food. 1578 Piedmont Ave. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com.