Two Hearts One Goal – Adam & Mikayla and the Bluegrass Tradition

An album that consists entirely of covers can be a precipitous proposition. For one thing, if the original versions are already well ingrained within the musical lexicon, any attempt to revisit them runs the risk of paling by comparison. After all, the trademark template is difficult to beat. On the other hand, a new and overtly imaginative version which adds something new can in fact add credence to the cover. That being said, credit Adam & Mikayla with an admirable effort as far as being able to share a set of standards with both credit and creativity. Considering the fact that most of their songs fall into the category of classics, the duo are certainly due credit for taking on the challenge. 

In a certain sense, it comes as little surprise. Both Adam and Mikayla Burrows were weaned on bluegrass music early on, and the experience they gained while playing with other ensembles appears to have given them the tools and training they needed to fully pursue their passions. At its essence, Two Hearts One Goal reflects clear reverence for those forebears that helped define that traditional template while also bringing folk music firmly to the fore. Indeed, those songwriters represented here — Bill Monroe, Ira Louvin, Merle Travis, Ralph Stanley, and Felice and Boudleaux Bryant —all stand tall in the annals of authentic American music.

Given the elevated expectations, the pair still manage to tackle this set of songs with unblemished enthusiasm. They turn songs such as Sophronie, Close By, Ridin’ That Midnight Train, and Knoxville Girl into a series of celebratory performances entirely devoid of posturing or pretense. Their renditions mostly hold to the spirit with which they were written, all simple sentiment and heartfelt homage. As a result, they offer an honest intent that reflects the reverence that’s so evident in each of these offerings. That’s clear throughout, as evidenced in the implicit sincerity shown with A.P. Carter’s heartfelt I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight, their rapid-fire revelry on Whitehouse Blues, the a cappella treatment given Waltz of the Angels, and the stoic delivery and counterpoint vocals shared with the well-worn classic, Nine Pound Hammer. 

That, then, is the essence of this album, an unabashed attempt at referencing the roots of a timeless tapestry. That’s what enables the ever-faithful Two Hearts One Goal to absolutely achieve its ambitions.

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.