Northampton Community Music Center teacher catches ‘Fireflies in a Jar’ with first album

  • Singer, songwriter and guitarist Adam Bosse.  Photo courtesy of Bosse

  • The cover artwork for Adam Bosse’s album “Fireflies in a Jar,” which Bosse also painted.  Photo courtesy of Bosse

Staff Writer
Published: 9/22/2020 3:20:55 PM

During the past several months, Adam Bosse, a Hatfield resident and guitar teacher at the Northampton Community Music Center, has been working on his first album as a singer, songwriter and guitarist — “Fireflies in a Jar,” which he recorded remotely with multi-instrumentalist Matthew Thornton of Leeds.

The seven-song album draws from Bosse’s 25 years as a musician; some of the oldest songs date back to his high school years, while others are more recent.

“A lot of the songs were full-fledged ideas that I had from years past,” he said. “There’s a song on there called ‘Night Life’ that I wrote when I was 16. That’s just been hanging out for years and years. The rest of the songs were more or less ideas that I wrote during the last 20 years. I guess I never approached recording them or forming a band with them because I found it easier to be a guitar player.”

The album title is meant to capture the songs collected over the years; it also reflects Bosse’s take on the current moment, during the pandemic. “We’re all kind of living in a jar right now,” he said. 

Before the album, he only released instrumental guitar work with his bands such as experimental duo Fred Cracklin, Bosse said.

“Doing stuff where I was singing or writing lyrics was very scary to me,” he said. But during quarantine, he noted, recording his own songs became “easier to do without fear, more or less. They kind of just recorded very quickly.”

Bosse draws from a broad range of influences including alternative rockers The Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Wilco and Dinosaur Jr., as well as pop singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey.

Bosse recorded all of the vocals and multiple guitar tracks (often featuring experimental noise sounds, layered guitar solos and harmonized guitar instrumentation) at his home in Hatfield, while the other half of the musical contributions were completed by Thornton, who recorded drums, bass, keyboards and cello.

“I wasn’t given much direction,” Thornton said. “Adam just basically gave me, ‘This is influenced by such and such.’ And then just left me to it. Lots of the upper layers were already on there, so it was fun to try and just work out how to best sit underneath that and bring it into a fuller sounding space.”

Recording at home along to a click track to keep him on tempo allowed Bosse to work on a guitar solo for up to eight hours.

Thornton sent Bosse all of his recordings for the album within two to three weeks, which led to the final phase of the production process of mixing and mastering remotely with Andy Casella of Shape Recording in Northampton.

Bosse said he decided to release the record on Sept. 4, a Bandcamp Friday, in which the music site forgoes its share of sales to support artists during the pandemic.

“People are just on the site looking rabidly for new music everywhere,” he said.

To listen to or purchase “Fireflies in a Jar,” visit adambosse.bandcamp.com/album/fireflies-in-a-jar.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@gazettenet.com.


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