Low Cut Connie Reveals ‘Private Lives’, an Album Transformed by People from the Road

Mastermind of Philadelphia based band Low Cut Connie, Adam Weiner writes alt-rock music that tells stories about the forgotten- the drug addicts, elderly, sex-workers, and other people abandoned by society. But how he writes such forthcoming songs is more of a secret.

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 “Typically, I don’t talk too much about songwriting because it feels embarrassing,” he tells American Songwriter. “It’s like talking about your sex life, but I’ll go there a little bit. I think I’m called to write about underdogs. Songs like ‘Charyse,’ we talk about drug addicts, people with HIV, sex workers, then we have ‘Quiet Time,’ set in an old age home- just all these different pockets of culture, people that don’t get written about in the pop art of our time. So, it’s an ambition of mine to write about people we don’t pay much attention to.”

Private Lives, the double album from Low Cut Connie out today, is a harsh look at the different demographics of people Weiner has encountered over his years of travel and touring.  The idea of Private Lives was to illuminate what goes on in the sub-cultures of society, while pop-music seems to often gloss over those communities as the less glamorous.  The theme came together over 17 songs, some of which took 15 years to complete and some that came to life in a matter of minutes.  

“I wish I could tell you there was a plan or focus but it was extremely chaotic with a lot of bumps,” Weiner said.  “I wrote the music for ‘Help Me’ in 2005, but sometimes you got to leave it and put it back in the oven. It just wasn’t ready. Because I was trying to talk about some very intense things, but I hadn’t lived enough life to speak to it.”

Since the meek beginnings of “Help Me”, Weiner has been on the road for at least 200 days a year over several years. And in his adventures, he has grown and gathered enough life to finish the song. With Low Cut Connie and even before, as a solo act Weiner was accustomed to life on the road, playing small town dive bars, college towns, community potlucks and even elderly homes, which is how he got the idea for “Quiet Time,” a song that looks into the daily lives of people living out their days in old-age homes. 

“I played to anyone that would have me,” Weiner said. “And I met incredible characters that way. The people I meet end up in my music. ‘Quiet time’ wasn’t even really a finished song, it’s more like a poem or what I call a tone poem, I created the song as I went, as the tape was rolling.”

Despite some songs taking quite long to create, that was not the case for recording the album. Over 50 songs were demoed and some even completely produced. With a busy tour schedule, Weiner recorded across a handful of studios in different cities and sometimes in hotel rooms and Air BnB houses, and often used a lot of first takes.

“I work quickly when recording” Weiner said. “I try to get everything out of the box, I try to make the first take the recording. And when I’m traveling there’s not a lot of time to record in a studio. So, the upshot was six different studios and multiple cities. And in 2019 the project became compiling it all, because the pile was just disjointed. Some of them were very produced and some were a mess, and I spent the time last year stitching together the 17 songs that hang together with the Private Lives concept.”

With the Private Lives tracklist rounded out, Weiner was ready to start another 200 days away from home, but the pandemic hit and jolted all plans. Weiner found himself depressed, not knowing how to handle it. And his fans were asking some of the same questions he was. In an attempt to project himself out of a pit of despair and respond to his fans, he started a livestream series, Touch Cookies, which was more of a variety show than a performance. At first Weiner only committed to three episodes, but now he has aired over 50. 

“I was feeling depressed and didn’t know what to do with myself and I felt compelled in March, because we had fans reaching out,” Weiner explained. “We were one of the first to try a livestream. I was skeptical I’m not going to lie. I didn’t know if it’d translate and not be boring, because I as a viewer, never had my attention held by a livestream.  But we did three of them to start and by the end of it we had 125k views and it changed my life. It struck a nerve and resonated with people and I just performed my 52nd episode. I’ve covered over 600 songs and people from over 40 countries watch. It’s been incredible.”

Part of the 125k people viewing Tough Cookies were hospital staff at Southern  Ocean Medical Center in New Jersey. The nurses were fans and had been playing the stream in their units on their individual cell phones that were sealed in plastic bags and affixed to patient walls.  When the hospital reached out to the band asking if they’d play a socially distanced show from their outside courtyard for the patients to watch from their bedside windows, Weiner had no hesitation. 

“It was very powerful, I’ll never forget it,” he said. “I just wanted a way to make them happy for a minute and let them know we are all appreciative of the work they do to keep us safe. And I wanted the nurses, doctors, janitors, drivers, everyone to feel our love and I wanted the patients to know they are strong, and we were pulling for them. I’ll truly never forget it.”

With such success from Touch Cookies, people began to ask Weiner if he was going to halt the series when concerts return.  But Weiner said he has no plans of pausing the series and wants to continue fostering the body they have built within the Tough Cookies viewership. “It’s become a community,” Weiner said. “And I’m so amazed at how this medium can reach people in a new way. I plan to keep doing it for a long time.” Weiner will continue airing 4-8 episodes a month for however long he can and in between that he is busy trying to find a home for the remaining songs that didn’t make the Private Lives tracklist, while also moving on to some new material.

“I’m already working on new music as always,” Weiner says. “I am trying to figure out with what I will do with the other songs that didn’t feel right for this album. At the same time, I’m moving so fast I’m already on to the next thing. I’m excited for this year and next because I feel like we made it through the worst of it. And I feel music and art are playing a bigger role in our society at this moment. And I can be a part of trying to make our country and world a better place with music.”

Private Lives double LP is out today on Contender Records, and you can pick up a digital, vinyl or CD copy here.

You can also read our review of the album, here.

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