“I wanted to make sure it was ready, and it was me” Says Adam Chaffins of his upcoming solo project. Equally at home leading a band and playing a support role, Chaffins is one of those rare musicians who can always bring a unique musical voice to a project while simultaneously blending in to showcase the musicians he collaborates with. A native of Eastern Kentucky, the son of a coal miner and social worker, Chaffins grew up on Country Music Highway (Highway 23), surrounded by shrines to local heroes who’ve made their mark on American musical legacy.
“I never had ‘Nashville Superstar’ aspirations, but music has always been a way for people from that area to get out and experience a different kind of life,” he explains.
Chaffins is no small town kid anymore, and has certainly had his share of experience on the road, touring for two years with Boston-based progressive acoustic group The Deadly Gentlemen, followed by two more years with Asheville-based bluegrass outfit Town Mountain. He’s played the Grand Old Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, Music City Roots PBS series, and such festivals as Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Pickathon, Merlefest, The Old Settler’s Music Festival, and GreyFox Bluegrass Festival.
Bluegrass wasn’t a straight path though. Chaffins played electric bass from the age of 12, but he was initially awarded a vocal scholarship studying opera. Though his vocal ability remains powerful and captivating, Opera was not ultimately where his passion lay. A school transfer to Morehead State University led Chaffins to pursue a jazz performance degree on bass. Throughout his time at school, he remained firmly rooted in the country and bluegrass music that had been such a part of his youth. “I remember searching for good cassette tapes at the flea market with my dad, that was always our big hobby together”, he says of his childhood. Upon graduating and moving to Nashville, he quickly found a home in the bluegrass scene, where his versatility as bassist, singer, and writer have made him one of the most sought after musicians in the city.
After sharing band songwriting duties for years, and winning a SESAC award for a co-write with GRAMMY nominated The Infamous Stringdusters, a solo project from Chaffins is a welcome treat. “ It’s simultaneously everything I’ve learned over these past years, and everything I’ve not had the chance to do yet musically.” If his previous work is an indication, we will all be lucky to hear what Chaffins hasn’t yet done.