Adam Wright has written thousands of songs by now – some for country music’s reigning legends, including Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Lee Ann Womack ; some for he and his wife’s duo, The Wrights; and then there are others that he’s written for himself. Releasing today, Dust compiles 11 of those songs. The album pleads with listeners to take time and think about what they are listening to – for those who do, it provides an in-depth look at carefully crafted songwriting; the kind where each detail is placed with precision and honed with a fine-toothed comb.
To create Dust, Wright entered the minds of his characters and wrote from their perspectives. Imaginary people navigate dramatic situations, often darker in nature. “It was more like writing short stories, a slower, more deliberate process,” Wright told Billboard . “I researched topics for weeks before I would actually turn them into songs. I’d never written like that. I just kept following that thread until I felt like I had an album.”
The 11 songs on Dust have many layers and encompass everything from death to broken dreams to complicated Southern roots. One of the most chilling moments on Dust is a gothic tale originating in Wright’s hometown, “Billy, Get Your Bike.” Written with just one chord, the song is based on a true story of a young boy seeking revenge for his stolen property. Wright examines Southern heritage on “From My Bough,” featured as one Rolling Stone Country’s 10 Best Country and Americana Songs . Written from a tree’s perspective, he was thinking how some of the same trees he climbed as a child have a much darker past. That’s Lee Ann Womack’s voice lingering in the distance, who’s been one of Wright’s biggest supporters over the years. His song “The Way I’m Livin’” was the title track of her first independent album in 2014, which received a Grammy nod. She also co-wrote a handful songs with him for 2017’s The Lonely, the Lonesome and the Gone .
The album’s title track premiered with PopMatters , and was inspired by Wright’s son examining the smallest parts of life filtered through the sunlight. He thought about how people and situations can be more than intended, and the characters within the song double as concepts. American Songwriter spotlighted “Born To Dream,” which “considers the difficulties of being born with a head perpetually ‘in the clouds.’”
“[These songs] require a lot from a listener. If you’re not into that, I get it, and this won’t be your cup of tea. No hard feelings. But if you have the time and don’t mind paying a little more attention to what you’re listening to, I think you might get something out of this album. At least I hope you do.”
Wright signed his publishing deal with Carnival Music in 2013. As a songwriter, he is nominated alongside Waylon Payne and Lee Ann Womack for the Americana Music Association’s Song of the Year award, for Womack’s “All The Trouble .”