I keep writing about Ryan Adams and his live shows. And I don’t know if there’s anything to say that I haven’t already said. But, here we go anyway. So, Ryan Adams got his start in Whiskeytown, a glorious mid-nineties alt-country band that was one of the best of the decade, even though they only put out three albums before their premature demise. After Whiskeytown, Adams went solo, releasing his debut solo album Heartbreaker, to great critical acclaim. Then came Gold, then came Demolition, then came Rock N Roll, and on and on and on. It’s no surprise that due to the prolific nature of his rapid-fire albums, the quality of each subsequent album seemed to decline from the first.
He took a break. He regrouped with The Cardinals, his studio band. Things got back on track. But still, hey, in 2016 Adams released Prisoner—his 16th album in as many years. That’s still a whole lot of albums.
In the meantime, Adams lived a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, he dated Winonna Ryder, married a different actress (albeit, Mandy Moore), he threw fits—including a famous-in-Salt-Lake walk off of Red Butte’s stage. Got divorced (albeit, from Mandy Moore). Yelled at people who requested “Summer of ’69” at his shows. He briefly stopped touring because of Meniere’s Disease (so leave your flash photography at home, you jerks.) And then, suddenly, it was like he grew up.
Sure, he still sings about boogers and pot (he tends to make up his own songs at shows) posts Instagrams about Star Wars and still needs a haircut. But he seems older, more comfortable and wiser than before.
(Ed. Note) In closing, I’d like to make the request I always make of Ryan Adams when he’s in town: Please, please, please, please play some Whiskeytown, Ryan! Please!
Ryan Adams plays Red Butte on Tuesday, June 12. Tickets are sold out, but I know y’all can be an intrepid bunch. This one is not-to-be-missed.