Second Ryan Adams Birthday Celebratory Post That Will Celebrate Ryan Adams’ Birthday
The second Ryan Adams Birthday post is my Ryan Adams Starter Kit. If you aren’t familiar with Ryan and his musical career (why aren’t you? for real?), this is my road map on how you need to get started. Okay, let’s start out easy.
“Easy Tiger”. With only one tune over four minutes, it’s definitely the quickest and easiest to digest of all of Ryan’s records. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not surprising that it was the highest charting record in Ryan’s career. It’s just really easy to listen to for anyone.
“Gold”. This is still Ryan’s biggest album, even though it hasn’t reached it’s namesake status in the United States. Sadly, this thing was released two weeks after September 11th. If I recall, not many people were interested in tuneage then. It’s a long album (70 minutes!) so it requires some patience and a skip every song or so.
“Heartbreaker”. Ryan’s first solo album is still, in my opinion, his best work. It’s just so damn pretty. Like, really pretty. Honestly, if I had only one album to listen to for the rest of my life, this would be it. If you are into real country (not that radio garbage), this one should fit your tastes just fine.
“Jacksonville City Nights”. The title is a reference to Ryan’s hometown of Jacksonville, North Carolina. If there was a challenger to “Heartbreaker”, this one is it. It’s so country-fied that you can practically hear cowboy boots clicking away on dusty wooden floors. The only real downer on this album is his duet with Norah Jones, “Dear John”. It’s really quite the snoozer, much like most of her music.
Dead Freaks Unite!
“Cold Roses”. This double album borrows (some may say steals) heavily from the Grateful Dead. I mean…Ryan named a song “Magnolia Mountain”, the Dead comparisons are inevitable. Musical influences aside, this is a great record. I would only reach for this one if you like the first four albums listed here. If those ones aren’t for you, this one definitely is not.
“Cardinology”. It’s not as Deadhead-like as “Cold Roses”, but it’s still very classic rock sounding. It’s could almost make the cut for rookies to check out, but there are some bits on here that are really for hardcore Ryan fans. “Magick” for instance is pretty damn hilarious and almost an inside joke to his bigger fans.
I Love The Smiths.
“Love Is Hell”. Dark. Moody. Depressing. Rejected by his record label. Naturally, I love it. There’s so much angst in this record (originally released as two EPs) that it’s borderline emo…but without the annoying kid wearing eyeliner scream-singing. It also has “English Girls Approximately”, a beautiful duet with Marianne Faithful.
Sometimes, The Wheels Fly Off
“Rock’n’Roll”. It’s not that this album is bad, it’s that…okay, it’s not good. This was the grunge-sounding album Ryan delivered to Lost Highway after they rejected “Love Is Hell”. It sounds like it too. There aren’t many highlights, other than “So Alive”. In fact, the best thing about it is the song “This Is It”…well, the acoustic version that popped up on the “Follow The Lights” EP.
“29”. About fourteen people bought this record. Honestly. That number isn’t that far off. If you though “Love Is Hell” was depressing, well, give this a listen. Other than the opening title track (which rips off “Truckin'”), there isn’t an upbeat tune in the bunch. The best song is easily “Carolina Rain” and Ryan did frequently play “Nightbirds” live.
Batshit Crazy Fans Only
Anything by The Shit or DJ Reggie. At one point, Ryan had several albums on his website. It’s really impossible to describe them. One “album” was titled Hillbilly Joel. Another was by the band The Shit and the title was “…Hits The Fans”. So, as you guessed, it was very serious work.
“48 Hours”. Of all the unreleased work, this is my favorite. Some of it popped up on “Gold”, some on “Demolition”, but there are several songs that deserved an official release. Among the most notable of which are “Like The Twilight”, “Walls”, “Angelina”, and “One For The Rose”. It’s hard to believe these songs haven’t seen the light of day.