The top 6 producers Adele should have helm her new country album
Adele, whose “21” is about to spend its 12th non-consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, has professed her discovery — and subsequent love — of country music far and wide.
In a recent interview with The Sun, she once again reiterated her desire to spend time in Nashville and Austin to learn more, spurring rumors that the next album will be country. While these latest comments have caused headlines that she plans to “go country” on her next album, that seems to be reading a little too much into her quotes.
When we talked to her in February, she told us that “21” had already been influenced by country, brought about by long hours listening to music from Garth Brooks, Alison Krauss, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts, and her new love, Wanda Jackson: “My [tour] bus driver was from Nashville and I used to stay up with him for a nine-or-10 hour drive sometimes and he was playing all this amazing music that he was born and bred on that I’d never heard....It’s the delivery with Garth Brooks that completely inspires me and the story telling. That’s the thing with country, it’s not like these trendy songs and 10 minutes in [to the song] you’re like ‘What is this song about?’ In country, within five seconds you know what the song is about.”
She was already planning on spending some time in Nashville. “We’re already making plans for me to do some writing there so that’s definitely going to happen,” she said. “I’m going to take my dog and everything.”
But these new comments got us thinking that if Adele does decide to park herself in Nashville or Austin for her next album, who would we like to see produce her?
Here’s our list of top six country producers we’d like to see have their way with Adele. Some of them are entrenched in Nashville’s music machinery, others are outsiders, and one is wish that could never happen.
1. Paul Worley: Given Adele’s adoration for Lady Antebellum, it would make sense to pair her with their producer. Worley also worked closely with the Dixie Chicks during his tenure at Sony Music. Even though he’s produced men, most notably Big & Rich, he seems to have a winning way with female vocalists. And if you need to imagine how he and Adele would sound together, just watch Adele and Darius Rucker’s killer version of Lady A’s “Need You Now” from CMT’s "Artists of The Year" special this fall which we've embedded below.
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2. Dann Huff: Huff started as a member of Christian rockers White Heart before moving on to hair band Giant in the late ‘80s. He then worked with Mutt Lange as a session guitarist, which explains where he got his big, open, pop-influenced sound that he’s worked to such great effect for everyone from Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts. He could make Adele a little bit country, but also keep her a little bit rock and roll.
3. Frank Rogers: Unlike a lot of producers, Rogers doesn’t have signature sound: instead, he brings out the best in the artists who come to him. He’s produced all of his college buddy Brad Paisley’s albums — so you know he knows how to get a great guitar sound on a record — and Darius Rucker fully credits his transition from head Hootie to country star to Rodgers’ guiding hand.
4. Jack White: If Adele likes Lady Antebellum, she adores The Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson: “I think she had an affair with Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis! Oh God, I love her!,” she told us. “She has this feistiness that you’re either born with or you’re not. You wouldn’t want to fuck with her.” White produced the 73-year old’s latest album, “The Party Ain’t Over.” Combine that with his great work on Loretta Lynn’s 2004’s “Van Lear Rose,” and White has proven his knack for working with classic, sassy, big voices. Pairing him with Adele would be groundbreaking or a train wreck. There would be no middle ground.
5. T Bone Burnett: Just think about what Burnett did with Alison Krauss and Robert Plant on “Raising Sand” or the “O Brother Where Are Thou” soundtrack: he would take Adele’s powerful voice and surround it with the barest of accompaniment, making possibly the saddest, most poignant album we’ve ever heard. Country radio wouldn’t play it because it wouldn’t be slick enough, but it would be a pairing that would break your heart in all the right places. While we're at it, Krauss and Adele could be incredible together as well. Krauss has a light, nimble touch as a producer, which could be perfect.
6. Owen Bradley: Okay, we know the most renowned country producer of all time is dead, but just think what the producer who brought out the absolute best in Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Brenda Lee could have done with Adele. If you want a hint, check out one of his last productions: k.d. lang nudged him out of retirement in 1988 for her magical album “Shadowland.”