Matthew James Adkins delivers his world-weary vocals so convincingly on ‘Stoned on My Own’ that it’s easy to imagine that he is several albums into his music career. However, this is the title track from his debut album and that sense of experience comes from the way he channels his genuine personal experiences into his songs. Speaking of his depression and addictions, Adkins says: “A lot of my songs are about that. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my pain. I came from a family who didn’t believe in therapy.” By seventeen, he had succumbed to alcoholism in order to cope but realised that he needed to tackle his addictions in order to survive and flourish. He continues: “It finally got to the point where my entire life imploded. I lost my house, just like the country song…broke, in debt, you name it; I was rock-bottom. I ain’t never going back. I love getting high, but I don’t have to get high. I just let it all out. I like to be real. I think all the things that happened to me…I’m glad they happened. I wouldn’t be who I am, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at.”
Over a gently rhythmic strum, warm organ and flourishes of harmonica, Adkins’ tuneful voice is full of soul. The accompanying video, produced by Bunky Hunt and directed by Toko Shiiki, complements the song’s isolated narrative, using the effective symbol of a blindfold to obscure the path ahead. It’s absorbing country, performed with great confidence by the Michigan-based singer-songwriter. The fine songcraft evident here reflects the rest of the material on Adkins’ debut collection. These are absorbing, bittersweet songs of resignation and regret. The new album is out on 17th September. Check it out.