Chicks With Guitars

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ADRIENNE YOUNG



In this crazy world we live in, morality has become a political issue and the idea of virtue so distorted that no one really knows what any of it means anymore.
But a young singer/songwriter with a background in organic agriculture has taken it upon herself to take us back to the good old days — and she’s talking older than the 1950s.

To Adrienne Young, it’s everyday choices - not grand gestures - that add up to a virtuous life, and she’s crafted her sophomore album, “The Art of Virture,” around that concept.

“A lot of it was in the frustration I felt in regard to the last presidential election,” she said in a phone interview as she crawled
through New York City traffic. “So I wanted to go back and find out when and where 'family values’ and 'virtue’ had been defined.”

She went all the way back to Ben Franklin and his book “Thirteen Virtues” (justice, frugality and humility, to name three that are conspicuously lacking in our political leaders).

“It seems like environmental consciousness, peace, education, taking care of our own seem like family values to me, not what we see in our current administration,” she said. “It seemed like Ben Franklin was dealing with a lot of the same things.”

It becomes a national problem, Young believes, because people have been raised to honor our leaders and our elders, and while some people will cling to that loyalty even though they know in their hearts it’s not right, others will feel a growing sense of hopelessness.

“You begin to wonder if your vote really matters because you don’t know if it’s being counted in the first place,” she said.

“This record is my attempt to contribute to the common good. We have the opportunity to make choices that will lift each other up and I believe that Ben Franklin provided a practical way to improve moral character.”

Yet the album is not heavy-handed or didactic in its approach, but uses stories to convey the message.

“If you want to reach people, you do it through their hearts, through laughter and joy,” she said. “When people are preached to and yelled at, they just recoil, but a message of love and unconditional acceptance can connect with people at the level of the soul.”

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