Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Life of Ryan (Adams not Shekler)

Something that has been entertaining me over the past few days is Ryan Adams' YouTube page. Probably the most creative singer/songwriter of our generation, he is just a truly prolific creator of music - and amazingly he manages to produce quality along with his quantity.

I've been laughing at his antics at my desk each day, sending around the links to my friends (I'm not sure if they quite get it). But it got me thinking. Passing some spare moments at work today I tried to think of my top 10 Ryan Adams tracks. It was tough, there are a lot of goods songs in the catalogue, but I narrowed it down to the below (and just so you know, they are in no particular order).

1. La Cienega Just Smiled
2. Come Pick Me Up
3. Dear Chicago
4. English Girls Approximately
5. Sylvia Plath
6. Damn Sam (I Love A Woman That Rains)
7. Oh My God, Whatever, Etc
8. Oh My Sweet Carolina
9. This House Is Not For Sale
10. I Taught Myself How To Grow Old

I've seen Ryan Adams play live twice. Once in 2006 at an NME gig in London at the Victoria Apollo. I had to pay £80 to a tout for a ticket (which cost £20) and I had to stand outside in the cold rain for 30 minutes, but it was worth it in the end.

Ryan played a solo show and it blew me away. I had been a big fan for ages (since Whiskeytown), but I never had the chance to see him play - and I was in the mood for some inspiration - so I did what I had to do to get a ticket that night.

I didn't even get a seat (it was an all seat venue). I had to stand in a crowded section up the back, rammed in with all of the others who missed out on the 400 or so tickets that sold on the internet a few months earlier. But, as soon as he walked out all thoughts of the cold rain, standing room only section, and the £80 hole in my pocket, disappeared.

The setlist on the night was quality - with the first half being purely accoustic guitar and piano, and the electric guitar getting a go where needed in the second section.

Don't Get Sentimental On Me
My Winding Wheel
ElizabethPlease Do Not Let Me Go
Sweet Lil Gal
Why Do They Leave?
Dear Chicago
Everything Dies
The End
Let It Ride
Magnolia Mountain>Beautiful Sorta>Magnolia Mountain

set 2 9.50-11.00
Call Me On Your Way Back Home

The Hardest Part
What Sin
Cold Roses>NY NY>Cold Roses
Stella Blue
The Rescue Blues
Come Pick Me Up

The second time I went to see Ryan Adams he was playing with the Cardinals, at Shepherds Bush Empire. Ryan played drums for the support act, which was Neal Casal, the guitarist from the Cardinals, and was at his comedic best throughout.

It was a great show, but I had high expectations from the solo show earlier in the year - so it didn't blow me away. But hey, a Ryan Adams show - it was still one of the top 20 gigs I have ever been to.

Just for comparisons sake the NME gig is in my top 5.

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