Music Review: Wonderville

by Adam Bauer MANTRALOGY
reviewed by John Malkin
Wonderville album art

Adam Bauer began his musical career as a bass player in a reggae band in Massachusetts. In 2001, Bauer took a new direction. “I ended up hanging out with Krishna Das in Hawaii and he invited me to play for some programs in New England. I ended up playing with him for the next seven years,” Bauer told S&H. “That’s how I got into the kirtan world—I figured I’d start at the very top of the Western kirtan world and totally work my way down!” From 2005 to 2013, Bauer also played music with devotional singer Shyamdas, another American devotee of Neem Karoli Baba (Maharajji).

Wonderville is Bauer’s second album and the influence of Krishna Das is apparent as Bauer now fronts his own band, singing in a deep, resonating style reminiscent of his mentor. These Sanskrit chants from India are mellow pop with country instrumentation of pedal steel guitar, mandolin, and drums (even a whistling solo by Bauer) mixed with traditional Indian instruments like sitar, harmonium, and tabla. English lyrics enliven some songs, like “The Way We See the World Is How It Is.” 

The basic tracks for Wonderville were recorded in India, where Bauer has spent a good deal of time. He explained, “Going to India feeds my sense of kirtan and music and the whole devotional practice.” Most of Wonderville was recorded at producer/multi- instrumentalist Ben Leinbach’s studio in San Anselmo, California. “Ben’s studio is in a one-car garage; totally humble,” Bauer told S&H. “But he manages to make magic out of that spot.”

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