Three Types of Songs You May Hear at an Adam Ahrens Lambert’s Show

Words and Photos by Laura Roberts

He’s playing the upstairs floor of Lambert’s every Wednesday in July.

‘Getcha a tall glass of more and find a wall to lean against—the one up near the merch table is nice.

Adam Ahrens is here to teach West Second a thing or two about the type of music played in a Bar-B-Que joint.

 Adam Ahrens Lamberts

Three types of songs you may hear at an Adam Ahrens’ Lambert’s show:

1. Songs that pertain to fruit


            O.C. Smith blew this soul number up in the ‘60’s in a clean-cut, hand-delivered dish of a number. Ahrens’ likes his fruit straight out of a bluegrass field.

“I’ll give away a stack of CD’s to whoever can name [the artist that] wrote ‘Little Green Apples’,” says the face with the two strands of hair that feather the top of his forehead.

Eyes dart across the dark, high-ceiling venue. No name is sputtered.

Ahrens repeats himself as the eyes of the room continue to square dance.

Ten seconds later, Ahrens gives in.

“Bobby Russell wrote ‘Little Green Apples,’” the voice says in an effortlessly surprised, but not surprised voice, and lets the lyrics roll out of his mouth:

Well, I wake up in the morning/With my hair down in my eyes/And she says hi”

Half a verse in, he’s got you.

Ahrens’ voice has the gravel of Johnny Cash’s treble and the sincerity of Mister Rogers’ “It’s Such A Good Feeling.” His words come out as a question as much as they make a statement. Ahrens stories on:

And if that’s not loving me/Then all I gotta say/Is God didn’t make little green apples/It don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime”        

In the darken room on the West side of Second, conversations spill from the mouths of men wearing tight white pants and women in loose t-shirts. Bartenders with thick glasses lean in to hear words from high-cropped bangs.

But it’s the low voice from the lim-lite stage in the right corner of the venue that is carrying itself in a conversation of its own.

Causing you to lean in yourself.

Adam Ahrens Lamberts

2.  A song with a ukulele. Or an instrument that looks like a ping-pong paddle with the ball teetered to it. Or a guest that likes to push and pull.


           “It’s not just stars that come out at night/It’s why the moon has such a crooked smile”

Ahren’s lets his slow, Tennessee-waltz of a number in “Not Just Stars” (from his Fond du Luc album, 2008) spill into the audience of tan hats and thonged feet. The song is already believable as a stroll through cobblestones, each carved and nestled right against the next.

But this Wednesday evening, Ahrens and his duo have upped the anti.

A man with black curls makes his way over to the last empty wooden chair onstage. The curls fall into his eyes, giving his eyelashes stiff competition.

The figure sits in the black wooden seat near the end of the stage, his red instrument grasped in his hands.

And he begins pulling it apart.

“Mike Ramos,” Ahrens introduces his guest in the microphone.

The accordion man goes to work unfolding and collapsing.

And unfolding.

And collapsing.

And with every pull of his arm, Ahrens adds his weaving words about the suns and their effect on humans.

Ramos doesn’t add any words.

His loom is in the shape of a red box.

Mike Ramos Lamberts

3. And finally, songs with no words

It’s the last song.

Ahrens looks up, the two hairs grazing his forehead, and breathes slowing into the silver harmonica that’s tethered from his neck.

The sound resembles a John Wayne entrance.

Ahrens’ hands strum his string box into a slow trot.

His upright bass player wears a black beret, a black-striped shirt and drapes himself over his instrument like a sun-bather to a rock. To the right, Ahren’s glasses-wearing six-stringer leans into his leader, head down.

And the three men proceed down the dusty musical path they’re plucking.

The song—“Farewell to Cheyenne”, off of Ahren’s Prizefight album—has the guitars weaving in and out of each other’s walkways, all the while the harmonica blows like a freight train in the gut of the night. The upright bass follows dutifully along.

The group strings and trudges together.

And journeys and winds.

Through chords.

And single notes.

Then without a warning.

Right before the last step on the path is about to be had.

The group comes to a halt in the middle of a rift.

The silence shuffles in the air for a good five seconds.

Feels more like five minutes.

Then as suddenly as they stopped, the three men reassemble their strings together again, and finish off the last remaining fifteen seconds of the march.

The scene will stay in your head like a long stare from The Duke himself.