Tag: ryan adams

MUSIC REVIEW | Whiskeytown – Strangers Almanac (1997)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “This is straight up country music balladry and heartbreak.”

I’m not sure when the genre of Alt-Country became a thing, but I know I first became aware of it in around the turn of the millennium, thanks to Ryan Adams.  He was an alternative radio favourite and every time I would hear one of his solo songs on the wireless, the jock would feel compelled to mention his old band, Whiskeytown.  I always liked Ryan Adams singles when I heard them, but never felt compelled to seek out entire albums until the last year or so.  And even then, my consumption has been casual at best.  But through bands and artists like Wilco, Drive-By Truckers and Jason Isbell, my appreciation for country, alt and traditional, has exploded over the last few years, which is why now felt like the perfect time to finally get into some Whiskeytown, with Strangers Almanac.

There’s nothing alt about the country of album opener Inn Town. This is straight up country music balladry and heartbreak.  Acoustic guitars, a mournful fiddle and vocal harmonies full of road worn sadness, it’s a great start, that leads into the perfectly juxtaposed up beat country optimism of the amazingly titled Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Ryan Adams – Gold (2001)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A long, but satisfying record from a dude who has surpassed the promise Gold showed all those years ago.”

Adams 1
For the second half of the 90s, Ryan Adams was lead singer of Whiskeytown.  They were never stadium filling superstars, but they reached a level of critical and modest crowd success that any hard touring band would be more than happy with.  They were at the kind of level that when they broke up, no one would be surprised to see the various members go onto bigger and better things, like Jeff Tweedy forming Wilco in the wake of Uncle Tupelo disbanding.  But it would have been just as easy to understand if they fell into obscurity, like a post Libertines Pete Doherty.

I knew nothing of the band at the time, but even if I did, I’m not sure if I would have predicted that Adams would go onto become one of the most prolific, eclectic, respected and successful singer songwriters of the decade and a half since.  A path that started with his solo debut Heartbreaker, but was pretty much assured with its follow up, Gold. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (2014)


Ryan Adams has held the mantle of the uber alt troubadour ever since 2001, when his album Gold and it’s single New York, New York hit big.  He’d been around for years before that, both in the alt-country band Whiskeytown and as a solo artist.  But New York, New York put him on a new level, at which he’s stayed ever since.  Then, last year, something happened.  I heard Ryan Adams on mainstream, commercial Australian radio for the first time ever.  In fact, I heard him a lot without ever knowing it was him.  Not because I thought it wasn’t up to Adams’ standard, but because I just didn’t expect to hear Ryan Adams on mainstream, commercial Australian radio.  So when I realised it was Adams, I realised I needed to stop dragging my heals, and listen to his latest, the self titled Ryan Adams.

Gimme Something Good is the mainstream, commercial Australian radio infiltrator that made me finally catch up with this record.  And I can see why it broke through.  It’s Ryan Adams, but it’s Ryan Adams at his most accessible, while still sticking to his guns.  Guitar based, sing songwriter stuff with its heart on its sleave that gets away with it, because you know he means every sentimental word of it. (more…)