From what I have gathered from my music loving friends is that Ryan Adams is a polarizing figure. There are those who can’t stand him and those who are willing to spend every penny in order to collect every song the man has written, and trust me, there are many. I happen to fall into the latter category. Ryan Adams has received accolades from virtually every music publication starting with his work in Whiskeytown and his debut solo album "Heartbreaker", a country album that tugs at the heartstrings with every lyric and melody. However, the stories that have come to stick with Adams for better or worse focus on his personal life whether it was his long history of drug use, the public accosting from Courtney Love or his marriage to Mandy Moore.
Despite what sort of tabloid-worthy stories that have dotted Adams’ past, the fact remains that he is an incredibly gifted and prolific musician. Adams recorded three albums with Whiskeytown, eight solo albums (that were officially released, there are many more if you count unreleased works), three albums with The Cardinals, and one album with The Finger. That is just studio full-lengths since 1995 and does not include a slew of EP’s, singles, or unreleased works that Ryan Adams has talked about that have yet to be released for various reasons.
My favorite example of his prolific writing style involves the struggle to release "Love Is Hell". Adams was made to release the album in two parts at the insistence of his label who were worried over the shift in style. To reach a compromise, Adams recorded "Rock N Roll", an album full of upbeat rock songs , in two weeks in order to release "Love Is Hell". While many critics panned the album, the fact remains that many of the songs on that record were instantly catchy and could have had hit potential, and he did it all in two weeks.
Adams writes at such an incredible pace and it seems that he is constantly finishing new music and sure, being a prolific songwriter is impressive, but are the songs any good? You bet. Whether Adams is writing country, rock or metal music most of his songs are bona fide gems. Not only is his music top notch, but Adams also keeps his fans updated on what he is working on through his Facebook page. So, here’s to you Mr. Adams, for writing such beautiful music and hopefully one day the masses will catch on to your creativity.
Below is a video of Ryan Adams performing "Oh Sweet Carolina" during a rehearsal with his band and featuring guest vocals by Mandy Moore. An excellent performance and song, I hope you enjoy it!