Brick by Brick: 2007-2022 features seventeen remastered songs spanning the past fifteen years of Mowery’s songwriting.
The first time I met Adam Mowery, I slept on his floor. He shared a Saint John apartment with one of my wife’s best friends and we went down one night to visit. “You’ll like Adam,” she told me on the drive from Fredericton. “He is into music. Plays in bands. You probably have lots of friends in common.” As it turned out, we did. That night Adam and I talked music, traded stories, and did a mental plot of our mutual friends while drinking beers on the fire escape looking down into the courtyard of his Horsfield Street apartment. A couple of years later, I was listening to CHSR FM and caught an entire program dedicated to Mowery’s songs. I remember thinking, “This guy must be a bigger deal than I thought. How many releases does Adam have?” As it turned out, he had quite a few. Enough to fill an hour long radio show with singles and album highlights.
I have written about our meeting before, but it seems an appropriate tale to revisit now more than ever. With the release of his new career spanning retrospective Brick by Brick: 2007-2022 (Monopolized Records), this seventeen song collection feels like a continuation of that enjoyable evening I spent listening to song after song play through on the radio.
Over the time we have been friends, Adam has lived in Saint John, Halifax, and now Fredericton. But I think it is fair to say his heart has always been firmly planted in New Brunswick’s harbour city where over the past fifteen years he has built a reputation as one of the city’s foremost songwriters, performers, collaborators, and all around dedicated musicians. The city has a presence in everything he does. From his early releases with titles like The Three Sisters and Port City Burning, to his songs Tin Can Beach and Oldies 93, through to the many collaborators who contributed to these tracks in some way, Adam is to Saint John as Leonard Cohen is to Montreal or Ron Hynes to St. John’s. Synonymous.
Brick by Brick: 2007-2022 provides an expansive cross section of Adam’s songwriting and the various minutiae that combine to form the character of his many works. The majority of these recordings were captured using various four and eight track recorders. This approach to documenting his songs gives the entire remastered album a consistent, low-fi, and fiercely independent quality. From simplistic folk to dirty garage and indie rock, Brick by Brick: 2007-2022 offers a concise window into the career of one of New Brunswick’s most ambitious songwriters. All praise to Corey Bonnevie for his work remastering this collection and helping coordinate its release. And to artist Derek Wurts, who masterfully parodied the City of Saint John coat of arms for the album’s cover.
To me, it feels as if Adam Mowrey has been writing his own soundtrack for as long as I’ve been listening to music. While that is certainly not the case, it is a great feeling and one I hope continues for decades to come.