The Counting Crows Are Back From Wonderland

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On Sunday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. PT/9p.m. ET, Yahoo Live will live stream the Counting Crows concert from New York’s Irving Plaza. Tune in HERE to watch!

There are two levels of meaning to the title of Counting Crows’ new album Somewhere Under Wonderland. The first involves Alice and a writer named Lewis Carroll; the second is more personal.

“When I first moved here, I moved to Laurel Canyon on Lookout Mountain, right below Wonderland Avenue,” says Adam Duritz, the colorful, unmistakably-maned Counting Crows singer. “So it’s significant to me—it’s where I sort of started my life over and the first wash of fame hit us.”

But that was in the early ‘90s. Perched in chairs in Capitol Records’ historic Studio A, the intersection of Hollywood & Vine nearby, Duritz and guitarist David Immergluck are now spelling out what makes Somewhere Under Wonderland more than a geography lesson or just another Counting Crows album. It is the band’s seventh studio work, it follows 2012’s surprisingly sharp covers collection Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation), and like that set, it reflects an intelligence and taste that’s been conspicuous since the band’s 1993 debut August And Everything After.

That “Wonderland” title in fact makes a lyrical appearance in “Earthquake Driver,” the second song on the new album, one of its strongest and most colorful. As usual with the band’s music, images abound, personalities emerge, landscapes emerge, and suddenly we’re hearing songs like “Elvis Went To Hollywood.” Nothing has ever been cut-and-dried about Counting Crows music—or black and white for that matter—but this album seems even more jam-packed than usual with new people, places and things. And it hasn’t escaped the band’s notice.

“The songs are very different from ones I’ve written before,” says Duritz. “They’re often stories about characters, as opposed to ‘This is what happened to me last week.’”

The singer mentions playing the still-unreleased new album for a close friend to gauge his reaction–and how he found that reaction memorable.

“I wondered if people wouldn’t relate to it because it was less personal,” remembers Duritz. “And he said, ‘Oh, no, I think this is way more personal…I kind of think you’ve spent the last 20 years writing this sort of epic tragedy about living with mental illness and how it screws up your life– and I love those records. But as your friend, someone who knows you–that’s not all there is to you, you don’t walk around all day moping, you’re funny, you’re weird. You make all these weird connections other people don’t make, you’re strange and goofy and you make dumb jokes—this record is a lot more like spending a day in your head.’”

What goes on in the head of Adam Duritz—not to mention the heads of his various bandmates—will be amply in evidence this Sunday (31) during the band’s live stream from New York’s Irving Plaza. And after that, come back to Yahoo Music next week—when we’ll be featuring a new and exclusive live clip of the band performing every day, Monday through Friday, featuring song introduction, explanations and more by the band. Yes indeed—by calendar standards, August and everything after is looking pretty good.