Friday, March 20, 2009

Ryan Adams - A Rough Guide

Ryan (not Bryan!) Adams is an American alt-country/rock singer-
songwriter.  He's been in bands and done solo work.  You can read a
bio on Wikipedia:

I can't remember what prompted me to listen to Ryan's first solo record,
"Heartbreaker" - maybe it was something I read somewhere?  Anyway, I
thought it was a great record, and mentioned it to a friend in
Singapore.  He'd heard of Ryan Adams, and kindly offered to send me his
copy of Ryan's followup album, "Gold".  I've been hooked ever since,
which is strange because I'm not really into country music.  But Ryan's
style somehow transcends what I'd normally associated with that genre.

The links in the guide below are to YouTube movies.  If the links are
blocked, you can try listening to snippets of songs at

The "rough guide" ...

1. "My Winding Wheel"
A typically melodic song from Ryan's first solo record, "Heartbreaker",
released in 2000.  There were no singles or official videos from that
album.  This is a reworked version recorded for a TV program.

2. "Come Pick Me Up"
Another standout song from "Heartbreaker".  This is a live version with
his current band, the Cardinals, on the Letterman show.  He cleaned up
a couple of the lyrics for this performance.

3. "Amy"
Another melodic song from "Heartbreaker".  This is a live acoustic

4. "When The Stars Go Blue"
A standout song from Ryan's second solo album, "Gold", released in 2001.
This is a reworked version performed live in the studio.

5. "Answering Bell"
This is the official video of the second single from "Gold".  The first
single, "New York, New York", had a very noteworthy video too, having
been filmed on September 7, 2001.  It featured the Manhattan skyline as
it was then, before being altered so tragically four days later.

In 2003 Ryan released his fourth studio album.  He had hoped that album
would be "Love Is Hell", but the record company didn't like it.  As a
compromise, Ryan quickly recorded another album, "Rock N Roll", and the
record company agreed to eventually release "Love Is Hell" in two parts.
As the title suggests, "Rock N Roll" was louder than usual, and was
recorded with guest musicians.

6. "So Alive"
Here's another live performance on the Late Show, this time it's the
second single and opening track from "Rock N Roll".  Other standout
songs from this album include "Shallow", "So Alive" and "Luminol".

[Aside] Take a look at the cover of Ryan's album "Rock N Roll":
and Bryan Adams's later album, "11":

7. "Wonderwall"
This is a cover of the Oasis song, which appeared on "Love Is Hell" part
1.  Unsurprisingly, it was released as a single in the UK.

8. "Magnolia Mountain"
In 2005 Ryan recorded "Cold Roses", his first album with the Cardinals.
Here's a live version of the the opening track from the double-album.

Ryan was rather prolific in 2005, and released another album with the
Cardinals called "Jacksonville City Nights", and a rather gloomy solo
album, "29".

9. "Everybody Knows"
In 2007, Ryan Adams released his ninth album, "Easy Tiger".  This is one
of the standout tracks.

10. "Two"
Ryan obviously likes appearing on the Late Show.  Here's another
performance with the Cardinals, this time the first single from "Easy

11. "Magick"
In 2008 Ryan released his tenth studio album, "Cardinology".  As the
title suggests, it was recorded with the Cardinals.  This track is a bit
of a rocker.

Recently, Ryan Adams announced he was giving up recording and touring,
due in part to hearing problems.  He got married this month.