Local singer-songwriter Adam Larson, stage name Mahogany Driftwood, played for a welcoming crowd Jan. 17 at Dock 22. Bringing back storytelling to folk music, his style is easy-going with heartfelt lyrics and a personality to match. Playing prior to fellow singer-songwriter Frank Connor, Mahogany Driftwood performed his own originals along with some classics.
“He reminds me of John Prine [and Johnny Cash],” says James Wickman, a member of the audience. People are naturally attracted to Larson’s music because it is largely a mix of hard work, hard times, and never lacks in humor.
The heart and soul of this one-man band, Larson stepped into this interview recalling his journey towards becoming a musician. Born in Colorado, he moved with his family as a youngster to Wyoming, eventually landing in Corvallis area, where he grew up. The road was a major part of his life and has influenced his work, perhaps especially the lyrics, which are rootsy, human and full of storytelling. Songwriting and music run in his family and so it all came quite naturally to this songsmith who was rhyming words before he could even read.
When asked about his offbeat stage name, he said that it centered around the root and paradox of a musician. Larson explained that “mahogany” is a fancier wood, while “driftwood” is a wood that has seen better days. Songwriting and music run in his family and came naturally to this storyteller who was rhyming words before he could even read.
Larson recollects the best moment thus far in his career as having opened for Colin Woekil and Mudpuppy at Cloud and Kelly’s in downtown Corvallis, back in 2011. Having achieved the goal of opening for a well-known band, Larson was spurred on to continue writing and playing. Of course, with the good comes the bad—his worst moment was taking to the road, playing on the deserted streets of Boise, Idaho for three hours and walking away with 10 cents in the tip jar.
When asked how he would describe himself, Adam just grins and says, “Unfortunately positive.” Hard times and moving on are the main themes to his songs, although he always seems to end on a happier note.
“I love interacting with people,” Larson laughs. “I’ll write songs about people I just met on the street.”
His future in music seemed to really appear in front of him about a year ago when people started asking him about his music after his shows. Selling songs and continuing to perform are in his current plans, along with regular shows at Cloud and Kelly’s, Dock 22, and other venues.
With music that brings back the raw edge popular country music is severely lacking, Mahogany Driftwood consistently puts on a great show.
Mahogany Driftwood will play with the Grange Hall Drifters at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Squirrel’s Tavern in downtown Corvallis. For more, visit www.MahoganyDriftWood.com or www.Reverbnation.com/mahoganydriftwood.
by Addie Maguire