So here’s the thing with Ryan Adams. He’s a genius. Like, pure, unadulterated brilliance. He’s also probably the quirkiest person I’ve ever encountered (and I use this world really lightly, because I can’t say I *KNOW* him – I mean, who does? – and I haven’t met him, I’ve just been humbled and in awe and somewhat captivated by the person he portrays on stage and in his recordings and lately in his videos. And I know that can just be who he chooses to let us see and parts of him that he’s willing to show but for some reason, mainly b/c I can’t imagine being able to portray a character with such multi-dimensionality without honesty, I feel like he’s showing his authentic self. But what do I know?)
Anyway. Ryan Adams.
I started listening to his music probably 5 or so years ago; I remember "La Cienega Just Smiled" was the first song that I was taken with, and I played it on repeat for days. (Ok, for weeks.) I then started discovering the rest of his music and through the years have had a love-like-lust relationship with him; Love on "Gold", Like on "Rock ‘n Roll" and finally evolving into my favorite state Lust with his recent album, "Easy Tiger". He is hands down, without a doubt, my favorite musician, not just for his talent but for his "I don’t give a fuck!" take on the world that he so often exhibits in all of his media. I’ve seen him in concert a few times; the first time, he was clearly (justifiably) agitated at some asshole in the audience who told him to "Shut up and sing!" and then the next time – last July at Herbst Theatre – he barely spoke, save for a few "Thank You"s throughout the 2 hr concert. The last show, this past Monday, was an entirely different affair, as he was jovial and engaging and genuinely seemed to be not only in a good mood but also enjoying himself. Which made me enjoy it all the more.
Now let me address some concerns: I’m well-aware that I sound like a crazy, obsessed fan. I mean, Hi, all I can talk about for the past 48 hours is Ryan Adams. Let it be known that this is NOT the case; it’s just that for some inexplicable reason I find myself completely drawn to him, flaws and unconventionality and all. He’s captivating. The fact that he’s been making these videos and embracing this whole other media – not to mention the fact he seemingly records a new album a week – just makes me nearly swoon with the after-effects of his creativity. There’s something so inspiring about his authenticity – he just puts it all out there – that it makes me want to do the same. I’ve never been so affected by a musician or artist or performer in my life, and right now, as crazy as it makes me seem, I’m knee-deep in Ryan Adams adoration.
So that’s the thing about Ryan Adams. He makes me want to be better.