New Music: Ryan Adams

A quick pre-holiday email this week…

Ryan Adams has been writing songs and playing in bands since he was 15 years old. His first band was a noisy, punk band, but he yearned to do something more melodic and he formed Whiskeytown when her was 20. Whiskeytown had great critical acclaim, but it was a tumultuous 5 year, 3 album run before they called it quits. Adams then went the solo route, with an alt-country sound and he earned immediate acclaim as well with his first solo album “Heartbreaker”. Adams has always been a prolific songwriter, he’s cranked out about 16 albums in 15 years as a solo artist. A year after his first album was released, he had written and recorded enough material for four albums. These 60 tracks were culled down to 13 for his second album “Demolition”. Adams continued to crank out albums over the years, and also starting working as a producer for other artists, including Fall Out Boy and Jenny Lewis.

This summer Adams announced he was recording and releasing a cover album of Taylor Swift’s “1989” (with her blessing). This album came out at the end of September. It’s an interesting experiment, pairing Swift the songwriter with Adams’ musicianship. He has an interesting take on her music, obviously with a different musical orientation. So I’m including a couple of his covers of big singles from Swift’s “1989”. If you’re intrigued, check out the entire album. Hopefully this endeavor nets Adams a few more fans who would have never listened to him otherwise.

“Blank Space” – Adams definitely takes on a melancholy sound on his take of “Blank Space”. I like his subdued approach and how he handles the chorus on this track. The sparse instrumentation, mostly his acoustic guitar, provide a very different backdrop than the original song.

“Style” – Adams brings everything up for this track, but with a different take than Swift’s. He does his own type of bombast, but it’s all guitars, bass and drums. He kind of sounds like another Adams on this track, Bryan Adams. I like what he did with this song though.

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