For almost 14 years, Adam Remnant was the weary howl out front of Ohio folk-rockers Southeast Engine, one of the ever-transforming band’s two constants along with drummer Leo DeLuca. Southeast Engine took Remnant from a college undergrad to a thirtysomething husband and father, as well as across the country several times in a van. And although the band never ascended to the level where legends are made, much less profitable careers, they did contribute an array of rewarding albums along the way. As a longtime fan, I highly recommend tracking down 2005’s Coming To Terms With Gravity; here, download the title track for free.
Four years after putting Southeast Engine on a probably permanent hiatus, Remnant is back with his debut solo EP, When I Was A Boy. After years recording in studios with a cast of talented musicians, this time he retreated to his basement and played every instrument himself. The resulting six songs are not a radical departure from his old band, but rather a fresh burst of inspiration from a reinvigorated songwriter. It’s refreshing to once again hear his piercing vocals and modernized take on classic sounds.
On record, Remnant has always carried himself like a heavy-hearted old-timer. Now that he’s actually got some years on him, he’s revisiting his youth. On When I Was A Boy’s richly folksy title track, that means literal remembrances refracted back into the present. Elsewhere, as on the easy country glide “Don’t Take Me For Granted,” it’s merely a return to long lost sensations and the kind of freedom that eludes people supporting a family: “Some nights I leave the house without my phone/ And wander through the streets alone/ It feels good just to be alone/ No sense of direction.” The EP is a rewarding exercise in looking back, one that’s helping Remnant move forward. Stream it in full below.