“Honky tonk neon cowboy country music” is the self-described musical style of football star turned country music entertainer, Justin Adams. Adams says he’s making “His type of country music his way, by his own rules, with an unapologetic approach and a don’t quit cowboy mentality.”
Adams developed an appreciation for community through his upbringing in the Tulsa suburb of Bixby, Oklahoma. With Cherokee and Chickasaw running through his blood, Adams held close to his spiritual connection to the land. “It’s the air I breathe and the ground I put my boots on when I’m there that brings me such peace. Oklahoma will always be home.”
It was there he discovered a dusty, beat up, black and red sunburst guitar in his uncle’s garage that led him on his true path—music. According to Adams, “I felt like God just put a spotlight on it. I was drawn to it on a very different plane.” Justin spent countless days and nights teaching himself how to play guitar on that beat up piece of wood. He had his first taste for entertaining performing at bonfires and parties in high school.
Adams reached a pivotal crossroads in his life while playing on a college football scholarship at the University of Northern Iowa (where he currently holds the school record with 54 consecutive games played and a member of the 2021 Athletics Hall of Fame class for his 2005 football team season). It was during this same time that he got his first taste of playing music for a live audience at a local open mic night and was instantly hooked from the rush and energy of the crowd—something he felt with sports. He immediately knew he wanted to make a living playing music.
After making the move to Nashville, Adams hit the ground running to make a name for himself in the local music scene but is honest about the fact that he quickly realized this was going to be a test of true grit. He experienced the grueling feedback of being told his songs “weren’t good enough” and “nobody sings about cowboys anymore” and the worry of not being able to pay bills or put food on the table. Adams realized there was more than one type of hunger behind the neon lights of Music City and he was forced to sell his truck to pay for rent while also waiting tables, landscaping and personal training just to make ends meet. After six months of perseverance and armed with his cowboy up mentality, Adams passed his Bluebird Café audition and completed the rite of passage of performing at the famed venue, after having failed that same audition 3 months before. The doors continued to close for Adams but he still pursued his dream with optimism and that no quit mentality.
Getting a rare chance to perform at the CMA Fest in Nashville, TN. He tells it “I was just the guy and a guitar on this tiny side stage while they cleared the full band equipment to make room for the next band. I give it all every show and knew I had to give extra especially for that one just to been heard amidst the distractions”. Well that Justin Adams “extra” would turn into his first publishing deal with Universal Music Group as they were in the crowd waiting to hear the next band. It was there that Adams went on to receive his first major “cut” as a songwriter for BBR Wheelhouse Records artist Granger Smith with a song he penned with Frank Rogers and Mark Nesler. “You’re In It” from Granger’s When the Good Guys Win was Adams’ first single as a songwriter as well. Adams would go on to write for Spirit Music Nashville/Fluid Music Revolution next having major label cuts on Sony’s Tyler Booth with “Gone Done Did” written by Adams, Booth, Phil O’Donnell Brandon Hood and Peter Daniel Newman. Justin also had many independent cuts during his time at Spirit.
Adams’ high-energy live shows and captivating songs have provided him with the opportunity to share the stage with country music artists including Josh Turner, Dan and Shay, Gary Allan, Dustin Lynch, Old Dominion, Trace Adkins, Tracy Lawrence, Easton Corbin, Lonestar, Sara Evans, Joe Nichols, Clay Walker, Jon Pardi, Kane Brown, Neal McCoy, Pat Green, Phil Vassar, Granger Smith, Chase Rice, Eli Young Band and many more.