|The practice of apprenticeship and mentoring has been a long tradition in the arts and is essential in breeding and nurturing future generations of artists, musicians and performers in every field. When his son Adam showed drive and aptitude towards becoming a professional guitarist, Douglas Schultz took him for lessons with Clarence Spady. The veteran PA bluesman quickly assessed that young Schultz had real talent and eagerly took him under his wing, nurturing Schultz through live performance and songwriting collaborations. He invited the aspiring guitarist to perform on Spady’s latest release, Surrender, and is the co-producer of Shultz’s debut album on Blue Heart Records, Soulful Distancing. For the 11-song album, Spady surrounded Schultz with some of the finest players on the East Coast including bassist Adam Cohen (Ray Charles, Engelbert Humperdinck), drummer Sharon O’Connell and keyboardist Robert O’Connell along with sax great Tom Hamilton (Dizzy Gillespie, Natalie Cole, The Temptations). Spady stepped in on vocals for six tracks and vocalist Michael Angelo and Ekat Pereyra did the others that are a mix of soul blues classics and originals penned by the young Schultz.
They open the show with the Johnny “Guitar” Watson funk blast classic “A Real Mother For Ya,” a song from 1977, whose lyrics stay true today. Young Schultz delivers tasty lead on the blues rumba “Early In The Morning,” appropriately paying tribute to one of the greatest mentors ever to pick up a guitar, Mr. B.B. King, whose version of the song is well known. The super smooth R&B track, “Good Conversation,” penned by Schultz that first appeared on Spady’s Surrender, makes an irresistible reprise here on his debut. The sophisticated soul burner “Harlem Tonight,” with its fine horn arrangement and soaring melody could pass as a long-lost gem from the George Benson catalog of the ‘70s. The sassy vocals are perfectly paired with snappy ice pick style guitar work on the spirited rundown of the Little Walter single from 1956 “Who (Who Told You).” Russian born chanteuse Ekat Pereyra lends her sweet contralto on the slinky Neo-Soul track “Have Some Faith” that features another fine guitar breakdown.
The horn-driven track, “Cure For The Blues,” has a West Coast style, a la Tower of Power, with some sweet Hammond B3 from O’Connell. Hamilton leads us into the slow blues “Toxic Medicine” with his soulful tenor sax, before Angelo gives testimony to the power of love and obsession. Spady stretches out on a faithful reading of the 1968 R&B hit “Can I Change My Mind,” as Schultz soars through the signature guitar chords. The mentor then leads his pupil through ”Cut You Loose,” teaching him how to reimagine the 1963 Chief Records single as modern R&B. Shultz demonstrates his finger style guitar skills on Howlin’ Wolf’s “44 Blues,” taking cues from the Clapton version of this dangerous blues waltz.
As the album notes say, “Not a boilerplate 12-bar piece to be found, yet blues remains at the heart and soul of each selection,” of this fine debut, Soulful Distancing, from 18-year-old Adam Schultz along with songwriting depth beyond his young age, and masterful production from Spady.
Rick J Bowen
Born in 2002 and raised in New York City, Adam focuses on jazz and blues guitar, fusing the two genres in his own unique style. Living in NYC has enabled him to play with numerous amazing musicians. Adam’s high school has an incredible music program, and he had the same four teachers nurturing him for over six years. Adam took weekly guitar lessons from highly regarded Juancho Herrera and Jeff Litman and played in the Avenues Jazz Band throughout high school under the tutelage of Brendan Dolan and Chacho Schartz.
When Adam was 14, Clarence Spady took notice of him and has been his mentor ever since, becoming a huge influence on Adam’s development. Clarence invites him to play at his performances regularly and they have recently recorded an album together. Adam wrote five of the songs on the album.
During the summers of 2016, 17, and 18, Adam performed ten shows in Brant Lake, NY with Danny Schultz (second cousin), who teamed up with 1979, a prominent local band. Danny was the founder of Boulder, CO’s renowned Band du Jour and was the guitarist for Melvin’s Seals’ JGB Band for two years after Jerry Garcia died.
In addition to Soulful Distancing, the recent collaborative album with Clarence Spady, Adam was the guitar player for Vagabond’s 2019 album, Life After the Fallout. In 2018, Adam participated on Let’s Make A Record, a school sponsored project produced in a professional studio.
In 2019, Adam was selected to be the guitar player in the jazz band for the NYC High School Honors Music Festival. He was selected again in 2020 but the festival was cancelled due to the pandemic. Adam’s other interests include math & science, social justice, and the environment & pollution reduction.