There are a few things that come to mind when driving through Cherry Hill. 1) You probably aren’t moving that much because of the traffic. 2) Cherry Hill is huge. It stretches all the way from Pennsauken to Voorhees. 3) There are a lot of strip malls. Like a lot of them.
At the very least, you probably don’t think about music. And yet, Cherry Hill is fertile ground for musicians, from Into It. Over It., to Sweet Pill, to Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie. Weiner has mixed feelings about growing up there, but is thankful for the experience.
“I’m not gonna say anything bad about it,” says Weiner. “Being from Jersey gets in your bloodstream. I had my ups and downs growing up there that I carry with me today with how I approach my work. I learned to work very, very, very hard, and not to take shit from anybody.”
The Jerseydelphian attitude of Weiner’s propelled him to success with his “boogie-rock’’ outfit Low Cut Connie. But things weren’t easy for Weiner, and it was a grind to get where he is today.
“I did a million other day jobs,” says Weiner. “I enjoyed teaching and the other things, but I never really felt satisfied. I was listening to a song from one of my favorite bands, The Replacements. They have a lyric that goes, ‘Look me in the eye, are you satisfied?’ I think if I looked at myself in the mirror, I wasn’t satisfied with where I was at with my art. I was always striving in some way, and would always strive artistically, but as a job or career I thought it was over. But then it did happen.”
And it came out of nowhere.
“In 2011, I put out my first album, Get Out the Lotion, just for fun,” explains Weiner. “By the fall of that year, Rolling Stone had done a piece on it, and so did NPR. My life changed because of that. I never had anyone in the music industry before care about my music and then quite a few people did. It didn’t bring much of anything or a label, but it gave me a sense of, ‘Oh, I gotta see this through now.’”
And quite a few people noticed Weiner’s music, including President Obama and Elton John. It gives Weiner reassurance to keep on keeping on.
“It helps a lot,” says Weiner. “This is a tough industry to work in and you never know if you are doing the right thing or should quit. When those things happen, it puts wind in your sails.”
Musically, Weiner has always had winds in his sails, and likes to challenge himself with each album that he puts out; his last album, Private Lives released in 2020, is no different.
“With each album, I like to challenge myself and reach farther in terms of songwriting, vocals, productions and the emotions that are being expressed,” says Weiner. “I don’t know if the albums have gotten better, but I have certainly tried to up the ante with how I challenged myself.
“In terms of Private Lives, I wanted to make a double album. There are 17 songs on Private Lives, and I recorded well over 30. It was the first album that I truly produced myself. To operate without much guidance and to follow my own instincts was a scary proposition. It’s something that I didn’t have the confidence to do when I made my first album. I also challenged myself in terms of the range of the album. You got really heavy songs to quiet, acoustic songs to light fluffy songs to serious songs. There’s over 30 musicians on that album.”
Weiner discovered that he enjoys both producing his own music and working with a producer for various reasons. One of the challenges of producing Private Lives was the space it was recorded in, as it was done mostly on the road.
“Private Lives was done while I was on the road touring with my band,” says Weiner. “Before the pandemic, we would play 100 shows a year, and I would be on the road for at least 200 days a year. I would have to record on off days, and that could be anywhere. We did that album over the course of a couple years in different recording studios, and recording in hotel rooms, backstage and soundchecks. It was a big mess, and the challenge was to take that big mess and make a coherent album out of it.’’
People can hear songs from Private Lives on Dec. 16, when Low Cut Connie plays at the Stone Pony. Even though Weiner has returned to playing shows in person, he sees the value in streamed performances, and hosts his own online series called Tough Cookies. Weiner sees streaming as the way of the future.
“Every year that I have been doing this it has changed,” explains Weiner about touring. “Some of the changes are good while others are not. I have seen a lot of great venues go under, and I have seen a lot of great bands go out of business. Thankfully not mine, knock on wood. The future of touring is going to be a hybrid model of live streaming and in-person touring.
“It’s gonna take five to 10 years to get to that point, but a lot of bands are starting to mix live stream concerts and live performances. I did it during the pandemic with my Tough Cookies show, but we don’t have to be in a pandemic to develop excellent, entertaining live stream entertainment. I think we can do both things. We can have in-person performances and have live streaming too, sometimes on the same night. I think it’s the future and is going to be the thing that injects a lot of money and energy into live entertainment. However there are some real dinosaurs in this business that are blocking that and keeping it from happening. I think some of those dinosaurs need to retire or get out of the way.”
Weiner is looking forward to his in-person performance in his home state, and concert-goers should expect a high energy performance.
“It’s become like a second home,” Weiner says about Asbury Park. “We have done a lot of shows there and it’s a magic night whenever we are there.”
Low Cut Connie will be playing at the Stone Pony on Dec. 16. Ticket information can be found here.