Adam Karch is a Quebecois acoustic guitarist and singer, proven and expressive, who tells stories, life facts in a panorama of Americana and blues music. His hybrid acoustic playing technique consists of precise, dense, and natural fingerpicking, which he merges with rhythmic actions played with the thumb, as well as percussive and varied actions on the body and the strings of his guitar. These additions fused into his playing add bass and drum effects to his music that capture attention, energize the performance, and engage the audience. Certainly, he is not the only one to use these techniques; however, he executes them effectively and personally, so much so that his particular approach, his voice, and his presence allowed him to win the prize at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in the category of Best Solo / Duo Guitarist in January 2023. He then represented the Montreal Blues Society among musicians from different regions of the United States and several countries. Some Awkward Country Ahead is his sixth album. It includes eleven compatible selections, assembled into a well-integrated whole. He claims two of them himself, including the title track Some Awkward Country Ahead, which deals with resilience and determination in the face of a strange and uncomfortable environment where he wants to make his mark. The second, Kelly’s Blues, is an instrumental in a style reminiscent of Mississippi John Hurt as a tribute to Kelly Joe Phelps, a guitarist he particularly appreciates. Black And Blue is a composition with darker angles and perspectives that he shares with James Stadnick, a long-time collaborator. The opening piece, My Birmingham, comes from the pen of the Gaspe storyteller musician, Dale Boyle. It speaks of letting go and keeping hope for a better future, following unrequited love. Four excellent tracks were also developed in collaboration with experienced lyricists from Ohio, including New York City’s a Lie, my personal favorite from this album. It is a beautiful folk song, with a magnificent melody accompanied by a direct and poignant lyric that tells the clear and decisive story of a country boy who finds none of his bearings in the bustling city full of artifices. Ain’t nothin’ pretty ‘bout New York City to a country boy like me I’d rather see him strut and watch an old buck ruttin’ from a deer stand up in a tree… Trade a sky-scraper for forty-five acres and a piece of simple life and I’ll get by… Two excellent covers complete the whole. The first, Moonshiner, is a public domain song that tells the raw and realistic story of a hardened drinker. The result is incisive from popular expressions and simple words imbued with the truth of experience. The second is John the Revelator, a holy blues, a striking classic by Blind Willie Johnson that completes this album on an inspiring note. The album Some Awkward Country Ahead was played, recorded live, and produced by Adam Karch, at his own pace, on his terms, in the intimacy of his apartment. The mixing is by François Thiffault and the mastering by Philip Shaw Bova. The ultra-realistic and bizarre illustration on the cover is by Marc Audet. It depicts, with acuity, the dichotomous strangeness of the country to be traversed. The magnificent, colorful photo of the left-handed guitarist with his instrument is by James St-Laurent. The overall result of this self-production, marked by great simplicity, is original and carefully crafted in every way. The album sounds great and exudes authenticity! Karch’s acoustic guitar playing is brilliant and rich with uplifting intros. The selected lyrics are relevant, picturesque, and the interpretation is sensitive and masterfully executed. Fans of Adam Karch, folk, Americana, blues, and acoustic guitar should be delighted. Beneath the surface, behind the image, there is a vast, rich, and strange country to inhabit… Adam Karch invites you there! (Pierre Jobin –