Entries in Ryan Adams (82)
Last week kicked ass for live music recordings...Jack White at the Chicago Theater and now new Ryan Adams from the Newport Folk Festival.
This recording kicks ass folks. Old tunes, new tunes, some covers ("MOTHER!!!!!"), and DRA sounded right at home on stage. For all his awkwardness and nuances, the dude is built for a single thing, and he's doing it.
A little DRA action for your late August musical taste buds. As Fall approaches I'm in search for a new Fall band, any suggestions?
01 I See Monsters
03 Everybody Knows
04 When The Stars Go Blue
05 Fix It
06 Let It Ride
07 Cardinals Introductions
10 Come Pick Me Up
11 Grand Island (Neal Casal)
12 Meadowlake Street
13 Freeway To The Canyon (Neal Casal)
14 Oh My Sweet Carolina
15 Evening Joke With John Graboff
17 The Rescue Blues (RA on vocals only, Graboff on guitar)
18 The Sun Also Sets (RA on vocals only, Graboff on guitar)
19 La Cienega Just Smiled (False Start)
20 La Cienega Just Smiled
21 Natural Ghost
22 Goodnight Rose
23 Born Into A Light
24 A Kiss Before I Go
25 "Back To The Hiro," Caribbean Queen, and Popcorn
26 Easy Plateau
27 Bartering Lines
Great soundboard recording of Whiskeytown doing their thing in North Carolina. Considering they formed in 1994 this is a pretty early snapshot of the raw talent that existed amongst this group of people. Ryan Adams' talking voice hasn't changed a bit (his singing voice has gotten better) and he talks to the crowd with the same weird enthusiasm as he does today.
01 Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart
02 Lucky Me
03 Drugstore Truck Driving Man
04 Don't Take Your Guns To Town
05 Tennessee Square
06 Desperate Ain't Lonely
07 Top Dollar
08 Midway Park
09 Western Stars (Chris Isaak)
10 Blank Generation (Richard Hell)
11 Way Down In The County
12 This May Be The Last Time (Staple Singers)
13 Faithless Street
14 Encore Break/Interlude
15 Drank Like A River
16 If He Can't Have You
And she and I would sleep on a boat
And swim in the sea without clothes
With rain falling fast on the sea
While she was swimming away, she'd be winking at me
Telling me it would all be okay
Out on the horizon and fading away
And I'd swim to the boat and I'd laugh
I gotta get me a Sylvia Plath
--Ryan Adams (“Sylvia Plath”)
TSE has been decidedly on a Ryan Adams kick over the last week and change (This was written a month ago. Whoops.). Therefore, I found it appropriate to frame this next new band, Widower, a folk band from Seattle, with a tip of the hat to poets. The great thing about this set of stanzas, to me, is that it’s not totally out of character for Adams’ writing, but it definitely forces some Plath celestial and Earthy imagery, giving it a Bell Jar scent, but doesn’t stray TOO FAR away from the songwriters wheelhouse. Much like what he did with Oasis’ “Wonderwall” philosophically. He made it his own, in a tributary sense, while creating something unique and unusual that could easily stand-alone.
The writing found on the Widower’s Fool Moon embraces this concept convincingly. There is a bit of songwriter introspective matter-of-fact searing the lyrics with a “this is real and off the cuff” sentiment, but mixing in some truly splendid alliteration, rhyming and flow—found mostly in renascence poetry. This brand of writing stuck out to me considerably, because, well, it’s exactly how I try to write. There were a number of moments when I would find myself aggravated that I didn’t write what I was reading/listening to. This happens all the time, but it doesn’t always feel organically like Spy vs. Spy or in this case Ryan C. Zerfas vs. Why isn’t this Ryan C. Zerfas!? That’s when the true frustration rolls itself out into admiration.
I’m typically a lyric after sonically driven mood music-goer, but in Widowers case, I think it’s proper to let the lyrics take the forefront and let the music come in and move your emotions around, much like a movie soundtrack. Most of the songs on Fool Moon have attention grabbing starting points, right away, granting immediate urgency, thusly, the heart grab hinges on the words themselves.
The opening cut, “Jumper Cables” might be the greatest poetic masterpiece of our time. It’s a song that makes me say, “awwww” and instantly want to text the lyrics to my current crush. This time around, I was able to stop myself, mostly because I’m trying to concentrate on this piece of writing…
“Sometimes your heart's as shaky as a shopping cart
it's seen it's share of parking lots, it's been around the block
you're in the market for a marksman cause cupid's missed too often
the concern it must be causin', all the fools you had to fuck
and you're wrestling reality, it's a ferris wheel of feelings
it's the wings under your shirt you weren't aware of
and I'll play the patient Plymouth rock
to your pilgrimage, a thickened plot
and I'll take it upon myself to pick the lock, love”
SHOCK. AND. AWE. Is anyone else blown away by this? Are you seeing what I’m seeing here?
Sonically, this song reminds me of “Harry and Bess” by Ferraby Lionheart, only the lyrics grip me in the same way that song’s melody did. When I first heard “Jumper Cables,” I found it to be pleasing, but not striking. After going back and reading the lyrics, everything was viewed under new eyes. Suddenly the pianos seem prettier. The guitar gently wept. The poet needs a beer and I’ll be damned if anyone in this dive bar will beat me to it. The blues chops hit the heart, and the percussion became a rowdy swarm of bees. Yes, it could happen to you.
I think “ferris wheel of feelings” will now be in my everyday vernacular. In fact, my Twitter currently, has a cover image of the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island, for basically the same linear thinking, but I didn’t have the words until now. I also love the alliteration on the opening “shaky as a shopping cart” and later on “in the market for a marksman, because cupid’s missed too often.” Just brilliant. I have a lock to pick, and when I get done with this piece, I’m(ah) gonna grab my tools and break it open on all them fools.
The Ryan Adams moment on this album (there is probably one on every album I review, no reason to avoid it) is “Thoroughbred.” It opens lyrically, with that matter-of-fact shucks, I’m going to shoot this straight—warts, vulgarities and all, “She’s given me hell, so eloquently/she resembles the devil, god dammit, so delicately/but this mess was effortless, it’s second nature, I guess/a dresser drawer of regrets, and the rest is history.”
There’s another quality line later on…
“oh how i long to be, sound asleep with you still next to me
you brilliantly breathe, your cherry-red cheeks and pillow marks
i was born, fragile and forlorn
i was tattered and torn, but that doesn't matter anymore”
Lyrically, it reminds me of “Wish You Were Here” with the sound of Cardinalogy, not a bad pedigree if you ask me.
I want to be a woman so a man can say this to me. Ok, that didn’t come out right, but seriously, how do you not melt when you read this? Hopeless romantics have a new lyrical standard, folks (though I am kind of using this chunk out of context). That third stanza is like a tight sleeping hug. Is there a better feeling? I like how the guitar and piano kind of trade the spotlight. The heavy guitar hand gives it this winding emotional grace and when the guitar quiets, the piano lends its own heavy hand, kind of like a camp “lean on me” game. Cross your arms and fall back into this song, it’ll be ok, I promise.
The depressing guitar of “Almost, Always, All Yours,” is reminiscent of Mark Kozelek in a punchier; it’s time to put this album to bed kind of way. The outro kicks in for the last minute or so of the song and just seems to gain volume like a set of late-night, out-of-place commercials. You go to turn the music down and realize it’s just a grand finale and you need to soak it all up. It’s not the guy in the question mark jacket showing you how to save your money, it’s Kevin Large & Co., trying to save your soul. It also, has a slight resemblance to The Wonder Years theme song. If there were a moment in all of music, to kind of sample something (I’m not saying they did), this would be the exact time and place. That mood grab is so clutch I can hardly stand it.
Fool Moon is an album (full of songs) precisely punctuated for a reason. I’m not sure I’ve seen an album with so many commas in the song titles, but when you read the lyrics, you realize you’re on a very specific, yet outwardly ostentatious journey of a piping hot wordsmith. Grow a beard like Walt Whitman shucking corn under a harvest moon. Cry in the rainy streets of New York like a depressed Ester Greenwood. Grab a beer at the Whitehorse Tavern with the ghosts of Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac. Somewhere the soul of Edgar Allen Poe is fist pumping Bon Jovi’s “In and Out of Love” with reckless reverse-remembrance. It’s ok, friends.
For every little bit love, and love-lost, borrowed from our sorrowful soul, deemed to be missing forever, buried in a hole. Our good friends music and poetry steal the sun, spin the Earth, give you rebirth and regenerate it right back. So, go on ahead, sit on a boat and laugh, someday, there will be, another Sylvia Plath.
Fool Moon is available NOW! You'd be a fool not to get it, but I won't judge. It's your loss. Poetic bliss awaits and in a world where poetry is on Kindles, why not put some on your flippin' iPod, or whatever magical device that brings you your introspective music goodness.
Hopeless romantism isn't dead. If there's anything more romantic than reading Ryan C. Zerfas' blog of cataclysmic drivel, he will buy you dinner. Just put your favorite line in the e-mail title. Also, follow him on Twitter. He's quite sick of having less than 100 followers.
Sorry for the downer week guys and gals, I've been sick/busy. This week marks The Steam Engine's 5th anniversary. While I haven't been posting anything this week I have been hoarding and organizing a f*cking ridiculous amount of bitchin' tunes for a blow out next week.
Ryan Adams played a set with an all star group and played two new jams. Check out what Ryan Adams with a band sounds like, in case you forgot. It's excellent.
The quality of this recording leaves much to be desired. It's pretty flat and I think a gain or volume boost setting was maybe turned off for crowd noise... You'll hear - this is more than listenable, just not a pristine soundboard.
01 Dirty Rain
02 Ashes & Fire
03 My Winding Wheel
04 Fix It
05 This Is Where We Meet In My Mind
06 Loaf Of Bread (improv)
07 Please Do Not Let Me Go
08 Why Do They Leave?
09 Invisible Riverside
10 Band Intro
11 Let It Ride
12 Nobody Girl
13 In The Shadows
14 Oh My Sweet Carolina (solo)
15 English Girls Approximately (solo)
16 Do I Wait?
17 I Love You, But I Don't Know What To Say
18 Dear John
19 Come Pick Me Up
You HAVE to absolutely adore this version of "Lo-Fi Tennessee Mountain Angel." The live, electric version is messy and meandering and so full of despair, ugh, just awesome. Enjoy folks.
DON'T FORGET! To check out the two new songs Ryan played on 3/19 with a FULL band!
02 Drank Like a River
03 Midway Park
04 Too Drunk to Dream
05 Hard Luck Story
07 Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight
08 Faithless Street
10 Lo-Fi Tennessee Mountain Angel
11 If He Can't Have You
Ryan Adams performed a couple of new numbers the other night in London with a full band! How exciting is that? Benmont Tench on keys, Don Was on bass, Cindy Cashdollar on steel guitar, Jeremy Stacey on drums and Ethan Johns on guitar - all the same people that supposedly play on DRA's next album. Oh yeah, and Glyn Johns supposedly produced it...
From these cell phone recordings (attained from a lovely member of Ryan Adams Archive) are the greatest but they certainly do the deed. Both songs sound like they belong on the same album and they both have sort of sound like the song "29" if you slowed it down and gave it some country. "Where I Meet You In My Mind" has a lot of atmosphere, damn this is exciting!
I've only got about 1.5 listens of each song in me so all my observations will probably change after I listen to them on repeat for the rest of today.
**Special thanks to all the tapers and compilers that have aided us in all the great music shared this week**
Oh David Ryan Adams. The amount of material he has, unreleased, is absolutely astonishing. Destroyer, 48 Hours, The Suicide Handbook, Pinkhearts... There are more, a lot more, and who knows what his vault looks like. My friend and I were discussing him the other day the point came up that he is on track to have a Neil Young sized vault, if he isn't already there.
Darkbreaker (Elizabeth Town Sessions) is the result of Ryan Adams writing a soundtrack for the Cameron Crowe movie Elizabethtown. While only a track or two made it to the official soundtrack the rest of the album is filled with some of the darkest corners of Adams career. It bleeds misery. "Maps" is one of my favorite tracks on the record with some of my favorite lyrics ever. It's as if you are there:
A clown carries his groceries to his single room apartment
Tripping on Chinese food boxes on the floor with all the bottles
He used to write these letters to her like some kid writing a fan club
He only calls her when he's wasted and the food goes bad
Tell me to go to hell?
Well if you want me to go so bad, you're from there
Draw me a map
Beat him down for laughs
Coughing up blood and whiskey
Searching the couch for quarters
Diggin' through the ashtray for butts...
It's an incredibly sad image.
I'll go as far as saying that Darkbreaker isn't for the casual fan. It's a scary place that shows almost signs no of light.
Well, this is the grand conclusion to Ryan Adams week here at The Steam Engine. Some truly excellent material was shared this week and I hope you all take some time out of your hectic lives and bask in the beauty of his music.
Even when it's dark there is immense grace to be found.
01 Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cemetery Hill (2006-10-11 soundcheck - Rockerfeller, Oslo, Norway)
02 Ryan Adams - Clementine (2005-08-09 - Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC)
03 Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Everybody Knows (2007-05-16 - Ulster Performing Arts Center, Kingston, NY)
04 Ryan Adams - Dreams Of A Working Class Clown (2001-04-25 - Sodra Teatren, Stockholm, Sweden)
05 Ryan Adams - Who Were We (2006-02-21 - Colston Hall, Bristol, UK)
06 Ryan Adams - Lighthouses (2006-02-21 - Colston Hall, Bristol, UK)
07 Ryan Adams - Everything Dies (2006-02-24 - Apollo Victoria Theatre, London, UK)
08 Ryan Adams - Two (2006-02-24 - Apollo Victoria Theatre, London, UK)
09 Ryan Adams - Maps (2006-02-18 - The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, UK)
10 Ryan Adams - Don't Get Sentimental On Me (2006-02-18 - The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, UK)
11 Ryan Adams - Elizabeth, You Were Born To Play That Part (2006-02-21 - Colston Hall, Bristol, UK)
12 Ryan Adams - Lighthouses - (2006-09-18 - Bush Hall, London, UK)
13 Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Lions Of Broadway (aka Steve Miller And Weed) (2004-09-14 - New Daisy Theater, Memphis, TN)
Man, there is just an evilness to this set. The jams are dark and the set ends with a downright scary rendition of "What Sin (Replaces Love)" - one of my personal favorites of all time. This show isn't on The Archive or most places so this is pretty special treat. I believe that this show was 21+ and that is why I could not go. Stupid age, I mean, everyone knows birthdays were invented by Hallmark to sell cards so why do they even matter?
Something I found pretty damn cool about this set is that they wrapped up 2006 with a string of dates in early December in New York at Town Hall then they didn't play again until this date which was sort of a one off gig because touring didn't resume until April of 2007. A testament to how good this band was.
01 Magnolia Mountain
02 A Kiss Before I Go
03 Please Do Not Let Me Go
04 Tears Of Gold
05 Peaceful Valley
06 Easy Plateau
07 New York, New York
08 Let It Ride
09 Bartering Lines
10 To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
11 Cold Roses
12 Shakedown On 9th Street
13 Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)
14 I See Monsters
01 You Don't See Me Crying (Neal Casal)
02 Dear John
03 Harder Now That It's Over
04 The End
05 Two Hearts
06 Trouble On Wheels
08 Blue Hotel
09 Freeway To The Canyon (Neal Casal)
10 Arkham Asylum
11 Beautiful Sorta
14 What Sin Replaces Love
Ryan Adams week continues with another great compilation picked up over at Ryan Adams Archive. This was put together by "Rich" (firstname.lastname@example.org) and is a compilation of the Summer of 2007. If you remember correctly Ryan wasn't playing instruments at the bulk of these shows, a skateboarding accident had him injured. The Cardinals picked up producer Jamie Candiloro to play keys and they hit the road with Ryan singing his a*s off night after night.
This is a great compilation, the band was so tight and offering a drastically different sound then The Cards' equipped with electricity.
01 Dear John (Austin TX 7th July 2007)
02 Oh My God, Whatever etc (Toronto 22nd June 2007)
03 How Do You Keep Love Alive (London, UK 6th June 2007)
04 Desire (London, UK 6th June 2007)
05 If I Am a Stranger (Louisville KT 11th July 2007)
06 This Is It (Louisville KT 11th July 2007)
07 Goodnight Hollywood Blvd (Detroit MI 20th June 2007)
08 Wildflowers (Somerville MA 29th June 2007)
09 The Sun Also Sets (Somerville MA 29th June 2007)
10 Blue Sky Blues (Austin, TX 7th July 2007)
11 Elizabeth, You Were Born To Play That Part (Toronto 22nd June 2007)
12 Rip Off (Morgantown WV 17th May 2007 )
13 Nightbirds (Minneapolis MN 18th June 2007)
14 Let It Ride (South Burlington VT 24th June 2007)
15 Down In a Hole (Seattle WA 27th July 2007)
16 I See Monsters (Louisville, KT 11th July 2007)
17 My Winding Wheel (Manchester, UK 8th June 2007)