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Ryan Adams

Born in Jacksonville, NC in 1974, in his early years Ryan Adams was heavily influenced by country legends including the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and George Jones, and jam band Grateful Dead. As he entered his youth, he developed a seemingly misplaced fondness for hardcore punks Husker Du and British mopesters the Smiths, and a fascination with garage rock in general took hold. While his musical influences seemed to be all over the map, the one constant was musical legend and cult figure Gram Parsons, considered in many circles to be the unquestioned "father of country-rock". Ga ...read more

Born in Jacksonville, NC in 1974, in his early years Ryan Adams was heavily influenced by country legends including the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and George Jones, and jam band Grateful Dead. As he entered his youth, he developed a seemingly misplaced fondness for hardcore punks Husker Du and British mopesters the Smiths, and a fascination with garage rock in general took hold. While his musical influences seemed to be all over the map, the one constant was musical legend and cult figure Gram Parsons, considered in many circles to be the unquestioned "father of country-rock". Gathering his diverse interests with Parsons as the anchor, Adams formed a handful of garage rock bands in his youth (including the Patty Duke Syndrome, who gained a respectable following in his hometown) before finally settling on the "alternative country" sound with the formation of Whiskeytown in 1994, at the age of 20. While Whiskeytown was reasonable successful both commercially and critically, personal drama plauged the musicians and Whiskeytown underwent several lineup changes before the group finally imploded in 1999.

With the release of his debut album Heartbreaker in 2000, Adams toned down the outright country sound of his work with Whiskeytown but still fit comfortable within the alternative country genre - in fact, he was considered the poster boy for the movement. Heartbreaker flawlessly combined country with rock, alternative, and singer/songwriter stylings.

In 2001, Ryan Adams unexpectedly shot to Adult Alternative stardom with the release of Gold on September 11, and the album which featured an American flag on the cover (albeit an unpatriotic reversed flag) and a morbidly convenient lead single 'New York, New York' made Adams an uncomfortable heroic figure for a suffering nation. Despite his unease with being coveted by soccer moms, the popularity brought much deserved attention not only to his first two albums but his potential for brilliance in the future. A demo album was released in 2002 to keep the eager crowd satiated before his next release.

One to disappoint, Adams took a radical shift in 2003 by releasing the uninspired garage rock album lRock n Roll. Though the album was meant to be a true homage to his rockier idols and some respected contemporaries (with song titles alluding to Pink Floyd, the Beatles and the Strokes), it flopped. Adams' reputation was salvaged only by the fact that he released 2 EPs to coincide with Rock n Roll's release. Titled Love is Hell (Parts 1 and 2), the EPs gained such praise among fans and critics that they were combined and released as a proper album in 2004, as Adams had originally intended.

Already a prolific artist, with 5 albums released in 4 years, Adams decided to up the ante by releasing an astounding 3 records in 2005, including one double album. In fact, between the first and last release lay only 7 months. For the first two of the releases, Adams recruited a talented backing band (the Cardinals). Cold Roses was received very well by fans and critics, and Jacksonville City Nights' reception was perhaps more muted but noticeable nonetheless. By the time 29 was released in late December a sizeable portion of his following felt that it was an unnecessary coda to a decent year - not bad, but not worth having released. Still, Adams has proved that even in his most prolific times he can keep the quality steady and has displayed a keen love for work, recording, and sharing his music with the world.

Don't think of Ryan Adams as a wholly benevolent man, however. He is known to be a cocky, self-righteous media figure, storming out of interviews and off stages on a whim. He also has displayed issues with both drugs and alcohol in the past (in a nonsensical 2003 website post he famously praised the virtues of Moroccan hash); he gets into celebrity feuds (he is reputed to have called Jack White a "little girl"); he dates around New York and Los Angeles (beddings include Parkey Posey and Winona Ryder); he is friends with Elton John and counts Liam Gallagher among his biggest fans. And he hates Bryan Adams. But for all his celebrity misgivings and loud mouth rabblings - the music speaks for itself. « hide

Similar Bands: Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Jeff Buckley, A.A. Bondy, Whiskeytown

LPs
Ashes And Fire
2011

3.5
54 Votes
III/IV
2010

2.8
18 Votes
Orion
2010

2.1
20 Votes
Cardinology
2008

3.1
45 Votes
Follow The Lights
2007

3.1
22 Votes
Easy Tiger
2007

3.4
79 Votes
29
2005

3.1
54 Votes
Jacksonville City Nights
2005

3.8
51 Votes
Cold Roses
2005

3.9
84 Votes
Love is Hell
2004

4
110 Votes
Rock 'n' Roll
2003

3.1
71 Votes
Demolition
2002

3.5
60 Votes
Gold
2001

3.9
121 Votes
Heartbreaker
2000

4.2
158 Votes
EPs
Heartbreak A Stranger / Black Sheets of Rain
04/21/2012

4
1 Votes
Live Albums
Live After Deaf
07/02/2012


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