Guitarist Adam Meachem knows plenty about delving deep to create layered, personal and inspired music.
He will be featured at a First Friday Concert on Nov. 7th at The Hub. Also performing at the concert are Eric Carter and Shiv Shanks, with proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society for Prostate Cancer prevention and research.
Performances begin at 7 p.m. Cash only at the door – organizers are suggesting $15 per person or $30 per family.
Meachem, who is based in Red Deer, specializes in guitar-driven atmospheric soundscapes. His debut CD, a full-length multi-instrumental called Axial Precession, is being recorded and is set for release late this year. Its first single, Totemic Revival, has been placed on the Satellite Symphony Volume 1 – Music From Beyond Borders, compilation featuring 12 artists from all over the world.
“I didn’t grow up in a musical home per se, but there was a definite love of music as far as being a listener goes. My mom had played guitar along with my uncles when she was young, and we always had a guitar and keyboard around the house that I would play around with here and there, but at the time didn’t take seriously as wanting to learn it to any degree.”
When he was about 12 he went and visited his Uncle Ron in Edmonton. “He let me sit and play his acoustic guitar and showed me a few things. I remember going downstairs, away from everyone, so I could concentrate on what he had just shown me, which was a very basic chord change. I started playing around with different notes and making little riffs, which I would then come back upstairs and show everyone what I made.”
Something really clicked with Meachem around that time, and at 13 years of age he bought his first electric guitar.
“I was hanging out with my friends and they played guitar, and at that time were fairly good. My friend’s sister came into the room when he was showing me a riff, she was also an amazing guitarist, she looked at me and said, ‘You have guitar fingers’ which meant my fingers were an optimal length and shape to be able to reach around the fretboard easier.”
Meachem dived headlong into perfecting his skills.
“I remember one night, I came home, grabbed my guitar and I practiced for 16 hours straight before I put it down,” he recalls. “I am completely self taught to this day, which has its pros and cons, but I believe this has let me find my own voice.”
That led to a striking sense of originality. “What I still find compelling about the guitar is the infinite possibilities of creative musical expression available. Between all the different genres, types of guitars, effects pedals and techniques, there is never going to be a time when your list of things to learn and explore runs out.”
As for songwriting, Meachem says there are times when ideas surface unexpectedly and other times when he has a more deliberate, disciplined approach.
“Sometimes I just have this tune floating around in my head, and am compelled to get it out and try to reproduce it as closely as possible on my guitar. Other times, I will just start playing and some time within the session, an idea or riff will emerge that is worth keeping and developing.
“I then record the idea, and keep coming back to it and developing it over weeks, or months even.
“I then collect ‘fitting’ riffs and start stringing them together to make a composition. A full piece of music can take a very long time to create using this process, but the end result is always worth it.”
For Meachem, there is no more fulfilling path to take. Listeners often point out how his music brings images to their minds – it’s a rich kind of storytelling even though there are no vocals.
“What I love most about creating these pieces is when I can get as close as possible to what I am ‘hearing’ in my mind. When I can achieve that, that’s when I feel like I’ve made something worthwhile,” he says. As for his overall view of music, there is much that both creating it and performing brings to his life.
“I just love playing guitar, and bringing out these musical ideas into reality.”