Monday, July 25, 2011


Ryan Adams had been around for a while when he released his breakthrough album, Gold, in 2001. In the '90s, he fronted the alt-country band, Whiskeytown, and in 2000, he released his solo debut, Heartbreaker.

The first single from Gold, "New York, New York," was great on its own. The video was shot, weirdly, with the Twin Towers in the background, days before 9/11. It's hard not to think of those horrible days when I hear that song.  Still, it's a great song.  And the album holds up even without that song. "When The Stars Turn Blue" is a classic (it's been covered by Tim McGraw as well as The Corrs with Bono), but my favorite is "La Cienega Just Smiled." The album sort of set Ryan up for stardom, which he seemed determined to avoid at all costs.  Well, he was successful.

I remember interviewing him a few years after Gold, you could just tell that he absolutely didn't care about being popular, but he cared a lot about his music. In some ways, he reminds me of Prince. He kind of operates on his own terms, releases more music than even his fans know how to deal with.  I think Gold is Ryan's Purple Rain. I don't know if he's released his Sign O The Times yet.

The label that released Gold, Lost Highway Records, is also celebrating its ten year anniversary this year. To celebrate, they have been reissuing some of their important albums on limited edition clear vinyl. Gold is among those and the vinyl reissue has some bonus tracks.

I've been thinking about Amy Winehouse for the past few days; at one point, it seemed like Ryan was on that same kind of dark path.  I'm glad he seems to be doing a bit better these days, it's always interesting to see what he does next. (Right now, for some reason, he's posting covers of Vampire Weekend songs to his website. Next on his list: KISS).

No comments: