Think “New Hampshire” and let the images flow. Cozy inns. Fireplaces. Vivid colors of fall. Crisp, clean air. Deep blue lakes. Searingly honest songs, laced now and then by irony or heartache or weighted by weary wisdom. Vocals that jolt these lyrics to life with a unique immediacy and intensity. Wait a minute. You won’t find that last part in any travel brochure. But on his upcoming debut album for Average Joes, Gods and Ghosts, Adam Wakefield proves it’s not where you come from that counts. It’s where you’re going and how you get there — which, in his case, is on the wings of undeniable talent. What makes Wakefield different? First, it’s his varied roots: Memphis soul, rock ’n’ roll, New Orleans funk, even jazz and classical, pre-bro country — pretty much all music that speaks from the heart. In terms of genre, he follows no rules, though one resolution does govern what Wakefield wants to achieve: If it doesn’t have a conscience, if it’s afraid of risk or candor, then he’s not interested. After his run with Old Man Brown, though, Wakefield decided to try his luck in Nashville. He and his girlfriend, an aspiring country singer, drove into town in their van. He formed a bluegrass group, started writing more seriously and made ends meet by painting houses. Opportunity struck when a scout for The Voice heard him play at Soulshine Pizza and invited him to audition. By the time he made it to the finals of Season 10, America had gotten the word about who Adam Wakefield is and what he has to offer. Working independently, he hit the top of the iTunes chart with “Lonesome, Broken and Blue,” the original song he performed during the season finale for The Voice. He also aced one of Nashville’s most challenging gigs when the SteelDrivers asked him to sit in for their lead singer Gary Nichols, who was taking some time off. “Honestly, it made me a better singer,” he insists. “And it helped me write better too. A few of songs on Gods and Ghosts come from that period. One of their songs, ‘Peacemaker,’ specifically inspired the droning lick I put at the beginning of ‘Shoot Me Where I Stand.’” All of these experiences — on the road, in the studio, in writing rooms and on national TV — play into Wakefield’s artistry. “I’m not saying I’ve had a hard life,” he says. “But when I write songs about somebody dying or trying to get sober, these are experiences I’ve had. The more you wear your heart on your sleeve as a writer, the better the tunes seem to turn out. That’s what John Prine, Jamey Johnson and people in that vein do. That’s where I want to go with what I do.” DUSTY GRAY Nashville singer-songwriter Dusty Gray is still making music and sharing the stage with acts such as Willie Nelson, The Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels, Delbert McClinton, Randy Houser, Lee Brice and many more. In 2016 Dusty had his first major label cut with the song “Let The Rain Come Down”, on Brent Cobb’s Debut album Shine on Rainy Day. He continues to play shows all over the U.S. You can find him on Facebook, Instagram, on a stage or in a local barroom near you. Download music on Itunes, Spotify or google play.