Before we dive into this premiere, let’s take a moment to appreciate the oft-forgotten prowess of the great Bryan (emphasis on the “B”) Adams. Grammy Winner, multi-platinum recording artist, philanthropist, photographer, Canadian icon…. You get the idea. Otherwise known as “Canada’s Bruce Springsteen,” Bryan Adams’ is an attainable innovator, at least as far as all-time great songwriters are concerned, yet he’s markedly in absentia throughout the influence of Nashville.
While the depth and breadth of Adams’ oeuvre are not necessarily literally tangible “things” for those who aim to imitate him (knowingly or not), there are more figuratively attainable aspects to his art. Bryan Adams’ work is attainable in the sense of being relatable (Cut Like A Knife), sometimes forgettable (On A Day Like Today), palatable (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron), and ultimately influential (thus, the aforementioned imitation).
For all the great singer-songwriter output pouring out of Nashville in the present-day, Bryan Adams is criminally under represented in the peppering of “these are my influences” run downs found in any and all interviews in this publication and others. There’s plenty of Springsteen (maybe too much), Dylan, Petty, Emmylou, Morissette, Jones, and the like, yet little to no mention of Bryan Adams, despite his distinct standing within the annals of singer-songwriter-dom.
What’s even more puzzling in the absence of the Bryan Adams acknowledgement deprivation is the fact that Adams’ production influence seems to be alive and well in a large portion of Nashville’s current singer-songwriter scene. Whether or not it’s apparent, it’s there. But I digress. It’s simply a fascination that occasionally wanes over time only to be brought up once more with each subsequent new song that revives the preoccupation.
Point and case, “Almost Mine” the latest single from Anthony da Costa’s upcoming EP, Shadow Love. It’s a solid tune that offers that Bryan Adams-esque offertory of relatability, through a more familiar (modern) lens. There’s talk of being “young and fun” and returning to times gone by (thus the title hook) are familiar tenants of the singer-songwriter, but da Costa provides a more positive tonality. That’s distinctly different from someone like Adams, whose songs would marinate in slightly cliche nostalgia. It’s a significant representation of da Costa’s perspectives and emotional acuity. No brazen vagueness, but not hyper-narrative either.
“Almost Mine” is a strong vision of how da Costa has grown in the handful of years post-da Costa (2016). “Almost Mine” has a little more dynamism in the production quality (not to knock the prior release). Where da Costa was a little more straight ahead Ameri-songwriter, da Costa and producer Dan Knobler (Erin Rae, Caroline Spence) managed to place a more pop art sheen over “Almost Mine.” Sprinkle in little musical winks like harpsichord and other sounds and you have yourself a Keith Haring menagerie of a song.
With all this being said, let it be known that there is no “Anthony da Costa is the Bryan Adams of Nashville” or “Anthony da Costa - next Bryan Adams?” or any nonsense to that effect happening here. That’s unfair to everybody. It’s simply a reference point. Da Costa is his own artist and justifiably so. “Almost Mine” is prime example that da Costa’s songwriting is dynamic and relatable, all the while devoid of the pomp and circumstance that songwriters (especially in Nashville) are susceptible to. For a lead single, “Almost Mine” has a sleeping giant feel to it - something that you can hear in heavy rotation on Lightning 100 and think you know what to expect of the next single. But that’s where the unique abilities of da Costa and producer Dan Knobler come into play - it’s familiar, but distinctly unique in style. Whatever the next tune may be, it’ll be one hundred percent Anthony da Costa, through and through.