Sunday, April 16, 2006

Don't Get Sentimental On Me

By all accounts, I shouldn't like Ryan Adams. He doesn't make much attempt at hiding his influences. Heartbreaker was Gram Parsons, Gold was the Rolling Stones, much of Love Is Hell sounded like Smiths covers, Rock N Roll sounded like every rock cliché in the last 20 years, Cold Roses was the Grateful Dead and Neil Young and Jacksonville City Nights was Gram Parsons again, etc. Nothing Ryan does is particularly unique or groundbreaking. He's never written an OK Computer, never pushed any musical boundaries and will probably not be remembered 30 years from now. His songs often, for better or worse, sound like they were thrown together in 20 minutes. On top of it all, the guy is a huge dick and his record label may be sending two of his fans to federal prison for 11 years for leaking a few tracks of JCN to a fan web site. (That's for a whole other post.) So why is Ryan Adams my most played artist on iTunes and, and why is "Come Pick Me Up" my favorite song to drunkenly play on guitar?

I wish I could give you some concrete and rational reason. But I can't. I have no idea why this guy's music has so much emotional resonance with me. If he doesn't cancel his Seattle date for a third time, I'm seeing him a week from now at the Moore Theater. I'm a firm believer that when it comes to music, if someone can't bring anything new to the table, they sure as hell better be able to do the old things well. And I can safely say that there are currently very few out there that are as good as Ryan Adams at the "singer/songwriter" shtick that Bob Dylan and Neil Young perfected in the 1960s and 1970s. Every time a new Ryan Adams album comes out (three times last year), you can bet I will be listening to it once a day for a month. Occasionally great lyrics, classic instrumentation and sound, and a perfect delivery; this guy has written some amazing folk songs. If you need a crash course, contact me and I will get you my Ryan Adams mixes, which have converted about half a dozen people. For now, here are a couple live versions of new songs from his brief (semi)solo tour of England. Fast forward through the banter after the songs; it's easier to appreciate Ryan if you don't have to listen to him talk.

Ryan Adams- Don't Get Sentimental On Me (2/18/2006)

Ryan Adams- Lighthouses (2/18/2006)

Oh, and Happy Easter.


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