The albatross is commonly tied to artists. The symbolism of the pacific bird with the giant wing-span is used in countless poems and pieces, notably Moby Dick. For an artist who has spent time in Australia, Adam Stockdale gravitated towards the bird for the name of his musical project. Stockdale has traveled the world for years, going wherever the fickle mistress that is music has led him. He’s traveled Europe, Australia, and the U.S. and he’s set up camp in Nashville to keep doing what he loves. He’s played on a number of different records including Mumford and Sons’ The Wedding Band EP. He’s also played shows with Mumford while holding down the opening slot too.
His experience is significant, but his ability as a musician speaks more than who he can reference. When he’s not playing shows for Albatross, sitting in with another band, or doing some spot-session work, Stockdale is also a guitar tech. He plays guitar using the “finger-picked” method. He also plays the ukelele and lap steel too. Stockdale breathes music. He goes where it takes him like an albatross chasing a sailboat on the open sea.
On December 20th, the new Albatross EP, Out From Under will be released. The new five song set features the myriad of instrumentation you’d expect from someone with Adam’s background and the lyrics incorporate ideas and thoughts of someone who has seen the world. Stockdale recently took the time to talk with Alternative Addiction about his new EP.
“It is kind of just me,” said Stockdale when asked about who’s officially in Albatross. “Since settling in and spending a lot of time in Nashville, there is a regular group of people that I play with whenever they are free. During the time recording this record I did the majority of it on my own recording with Mark Myers (The Middle East.) The rest of it was a bit like Postal Service. I was sending files in different drop boxes back and forth to different people who lived in all different places. They were doing their own bits and then sending it back to me, then I would send it back to Mark and he would edit it. Around the time when this was specifically recorded it was more of a solo project but I wanted as many friends as I could who could play instruments that I couldn’t to be involved. Mark and I recorded most of the album in Cairns, but what I couldn’t play I got some great help on.”
The pairing worked on the EP and they made a fun listen that merges singer/songwriter traits with bluegrass, and americana. There’s a little bit of everything spattered on this EP, even some Cake-style horns. This pairing wouldn’t have happened if Stockdale wouldn’t have met Myers while serving as a guitar tech for The Kooks and Mumford and Sons. He explained the long path on getting to know Myers and teaming up for this EP.
“I knew the Mumford and Sons guys because I worked with The Kooks a long time ago. I played a bit for them and worked on their record and went out with them on the road as well. Laura Marling and The Kooks were both on Virgin back then. Winston, Ted, and Marcus from Mumford and Sons all used to play for her. She did a lot of shows with The Kooks and I met those guys when they were playing with her.
“A while after meeting those guys, I got a phone call from a friend and he asked me if I wanted to help out Mumford and Sons for a festival and through the summer after that. Initially, I started working with them as a guitar tech and it grew from there. They love to play and and they all do side projects. So eventually, they got me involved with anything extra I could do on top of working with them. I played on their EP and I got to play on a tour with them and The Middle East. So I would play, The Middle East would play, and then Mumford would go on and I’d play with them too. So on that tour I got to know Mike and we talked about working together and as it turns out we got to do it,” added Stockdale.
That story is a sampling of Stockdale’s life. He shares a bond with other musicians and he gets opportunities from others while helping out someone else. This music isn’t the first from Albatross but it’s coming to forefront now after Stockdale has worked in the background. Still, Stockdale remains comfortable in both roles; standing front and center, or back and to the right. He travels the world while speaking in verses and bonding in chorus. Sometimes he does the talking himself and sometimes he helps translate other people’s thoughts and feelings through music. A lot can be said for the troubadours like Adam. They’re the people that still believe in the power of music and back it up with what they do. Whether that’s warming up a guitar, playing to a sparse crowd at a dive bar, or staying in the studio until the early hours of the morning to make sure somebody else’s record sounds just right. Stockdale’s passion is music and on the aptly-titled Out From Under EP, that shows.