Nashville-based singer-songwriter Adrienne Young is such an ardent supporter of sustainable agriculture that she bundled seed packets into the liner notes of her Grammy-nominated first album. But it's her third release, the forthcoming Room to Grow - due out May 22, 2007 on her own AddieBelle Records and distributed by Ryko Distribution - that she feels will bear the most significant fruits of her labor. Young has integrated a national responsible-farming awareness campaign and fund-raising effort into the release of Room to Grow, a perfect marriage between her convictions and her talent.
Recorded in upstate New York at Levon Helm's studio, in Virginia at Sound of Music Studios and mixed by Jason Lenning in Nashville, Room to Grow reveals the maturation and sensitivity that have evolved in Young's songwriting and vocals. The album features guest appearances by legendary bassist Mike Gordon (Phish, Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon), Gordon Stone (Phish, Gordon Stone Trio), long-time collaborator and Nashville heavyweight Will Kimbrough, guest vocals by bluegrass siren Dale Ann Bradley, and co-writes with Mark D. Sanders, one of Music Row's most successful tunesmiths (No. 1 songs for George Strait, Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson and others).
Branching out from the themes that defined her last effort, 2005's The Art of Virtue - a study and exploration of Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues - Room to Grow is more introspective in its focus but wider in its aim. As in the past, Young tackles heady subjects - longing, regret, fear, desire, contentment, purpose - but manages to artfully sidestep the melodrama, extending instead a rational but hopeful approach to the pilgrimage of life.
"It's such a rare place to be, where you're reduced to wagering everything on the pertinence of your perspective," Young shares. "Deciding to produce this record on my own forced me to confront many qualities within myself that have served both as hindrances and strengths. It was not necessarily my intent that those struggles be apparent in the songs themselves, but expression that touches people requires the revelation of truth. I feel this album has the potential to both inspire and challenge simultaneously and am so grateful we had the chance to make it."
Young, together with the Food Routes Network (www.foodroutes.org), which she has represented nationally since 2004, have formed an alliance with the American Community Garden Association (www.acga.org). Working with these national non-profits based in Philadelphia and Boston, Young will donate a portion of every record sold to a newly established fund. Proceeds will support local farming efforts in a variety of ways, from supplying non-GMO organic seeds to community gardens, to assisting progressive agricultural entrepreneurs.
FoodRoutes executive director Tim Schiltzer is excited about the partnership and feels confident that Young continues to be the appropriate national figure for the organization's mission. "We are very fortunate to have the energy and commitment to our cause from someone as special as Adrienne," Schlitzer says. "FoodRoutes' mission is to revitalize local food systems all over the United States. We do this by working to connect family farms and local consumers together in a way that helps each other through our Buy Fresh Buy Local program. Adrienne's music is one way to introduce our mission both to farmers and the public. We could not ask for a better spokesperson who not only helps spread the word but also leads by example in her contributions to community based food systems."
In the fall, Young will unveil an inaugural sustainable living tour featuring eco-vendors, educational workshops on self-sufficient living practices, national live music acts as well as local artists and artisans representing the traditions specific to their region. One of Young's goals is to acquaint people with the resources available in their own backyards. "Our intention is for this tour to affirm the power inherent in tightly bound communities, by reinvigorating an awareness of and affection for local neighborhoods, cultures and economies."