A is for Ryan Adams.
So back around to A again. I realise my pick the first time through the alphabet was Bryan Adams, so not much has changed in terms of the name, but quite a bit in terms of musical style. First recommended to me about six or seven years ago, I have followed his career ever since, and he has recorded some great material in that time. He covers a variety of styles, from the modern country that was his roots, to tuneful acoustic rock, to all out electric verging towards punk. Saw him live in Nottingham a few years ago and that was an excellent night too. Nowhere near as well-known as he probably ought to be for the quality of his songwriting, performance and production (in part because of the whole “people think his name is a typo for Bryan Adams and if they hear him mentioned in a positive way they assume the person must have said Bryan Adams” thing). So here goes with my favourite tracks:
(1) New York New York – Not a cover of the Frank Sinatra classic, but an excellent tune that kicks off probably his best album, “Gold”. The type of acoustic rock I really love, this is one of my favourites in the style.
(2) Wish You Were Here – From the controversial “Rock and Roll” album (record company wanted a rock record, he wanted to do more acoustic/country, they insisted so he quickly dashed off a few rock songs, which are some of my favourites he has recorded). Reveals something of the frustration and anger he was feeling at the time.
(3) Halloween Head – Great title (especially when you work as a ghost walk guide) and a great song, from the excellent “Easy Tiger” album, which he was touring when I saw him live.
(4) So Alive – Another from “Rock and Roll”, with brilliant lead guitar and fantastic energy, a real unrelenting, surging song.
(5) Goodnight Rose – Maybe an unusual choice as an opening song for an album (Easy Tiger) but natural choice for me as a big ballad fan.
If you are not familiar with Adams, check him out – the three albums these five tracks come from are probably the best introduction, Ryan has a habit of releasing everything he records so can be inconsistent, but when he gets it right he gets it very right.