Bryan Adams makes no bones about it: He likes stripping down his music on stage.
The native of Kingston, Ontario, brings his "Bare Bones" tour to Brunswick Community College Odell Williamson Auditorium in Supply, N.C., for a concert Tuesday night. Adams' appearance north of the S.C. state line coincides with Canadian-American Days continuing in the Myrtle Beach area through March 20.
In a call from home in London, homeland of his parents, Adams took mere seconds to count the instruments he totes for his acoustic tour: four acoustic guitars and a harmonica, and accompanist Gary Breit adds the keyboards.
In support of his "Bare Bones" CD released by Decca with 20 songs recorded last year on tour, Adams mused over how this experience of intimate concerts has evolved, affording him new feelings and heart for songs since he first recorded them.
"The whole show has gotten better and better," he said in a distinct British accent. "I started out thinking I would only do this 'Bare Bones' tour for about six weeks, and I'm into my second year now. The fans really like it."
The 51-year-old reaches back across his 30 years performing. His hits range from rockers "Cuts Like a Knife," "Summer of '69" and "Somebody" to slow numbers such as "Heaven," "Please Forgive Me" and "Do I Have to Say the Words?"
"I'm singing songs I wrote when I was 18," Adams said. "I can sort of remember what I was thinking back then. It's kind of hysterical in some way. It's quite funny I'm still singing them."
Adams also recorded "MTV Unplugged," a live CD in 1997 for his former longtime label, A&M. It also ushered in some new, more acoustic takes of songs from his catalog, for example, turning "I'm Ready" into a ballad.
Adams' records have scored staples in movie soundtracks, especially in the 1990s with "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)" from "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," and "All for One" with Rod Stewart and Sting, from "The Three Musketeers."
Asked what song he modified the most for the "Bare Bones" set, Adams instantly identified "Here I Am," from "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," an animated movie from 2002.
Having grown up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Adams brought up the importance of his proximity to the 49th north parallel.
He thanked the northern U.S. cities, from the New York cities of Albany, Rochester and Buffalo and westward, including Cleveland and Detroit, for his entry into American radio, with "a lot of music crossing over both sides of the map."
"All those towns were ones who broke my records," Adams said.
He also likes lending his voice to causes that help people halfway around the globe.
With fellow native Canadians Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray, Adams sang a verse in "Tears Are Not Enough," a single from the "USA for Africa" album released in 1985 to help with Ethiopian famine relief. Adams credited the Boomtown Rats' Bob Geldof, who organized the "Do They Know It's Christmas?" charity single the previous year, for continuing mass awareness in such global efforts.
Adams called such ventures by the music community, including the "Tears" track, "a landmark step ... especially in confirming in music having the potential to really reach out to a lot of people in a very different way."
The way music stays ageless leaves Adams in awe, and in appreciation.
"There's no real time span to songs that can touch people," he said. "I can recall songs that I've released in the '80s becoming hits in Europe in the '90s, then coming into the 2000s, seeing other songs become hits in other parts of the world.
"It's almost like a very, very slow-moving wave. It's like a ripple. Imagine an ocean's that's still, and dropping a penny in New York, and how long that ripple would take to get to other side. It's almost like same thing with the songs as they travel across the world."