Record Review: Adlai Waxman’s “Circumstance and Dreams”

By Dave Carew

Piano-centered pop is a lonely step-child in Nashville. For every outstanding practitioner living here (Gabe Dixon, Ben Folds), there are many also-rans. And that, I think, contributes to a dearth of enthusiasm in Music City (generally) for a genre that enjoys such rabid popularity in places like New York, L.A., and even Austin.

That’s why it was such a delight to hear of Adlai Waxman, and to get the chance to listen to his new, six-song record Circumstance and Dreams. Originally from Toronto—and already with several songs having hit Canada’s CBC radio charts—Adlai is exactly the kind of musician who could ignite a piano-driven scene here, and provide a satisfying musical outlet to fans of Marc “Walking in Memphis” Cohn, Chris Martin, Billy Joel, and even Gabe Dixon himself.  The six songs on Circumstance and Dreams could provide the fuel for that.

Pervasively catchy and engaging, these songs explore a wide array of emotions (and circumstances and dreams), all with outstanding craftsmanship and an eye to the make-it-memorable. From the infectious, hook-happiness of “Can’t See Straight” to the jazz-inflected “Heavy Sound” to the poignancy and weary hope of “Tomorrow,” Adlai has fashioned an album you’ll find so instantly engaging, well-crafted, and heart-felt that you’ll (if you’re like me) be chomping at the bit to hear more.

A note to fans of Bruce Hornsby: One of the co-producers of Circumstances and Dreams was George Marinelli, one of the founding members of Bruce Hornsby and The Range and a current guitarist for Bonnie Raitt. Marinelli is an excellent ingredient to the musical mix, as his considerable talent proves to be just the right spice for this savory new record.

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David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at Dave also is a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit and “like” the page on Facebook:

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Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

2 Responses to “Record Review: Adlai Waxman’s “Circumstance and Dreams””

  1. mannequin2013 Says:

    Well-crafted, helpful and insightful review. I also love the EP.

  2. Jerry Grammer Says:

    It’s great that someone recognizes a different genre of music in the heart of America’s Music Country.

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