Ryan Adams - Biography

Ryan AdamsRyan Adams (born David Ryan Adams on November 5, 1974) is an alt-country and rock and roll singer/songwriter from Jacksonville, North Carolina. He formed a band named Whiskeytown in 1994; they disbanded in 1999. Adams went on to put out his first solo record, Heartbreaker, in 2000.

Ryan Adams is a highly prolific artist, releasing five albums since the end of 2000. He also produced an album by Jesse Malin, contributed to Beth Orton and Counting Crows albums, dated Winona Ryder, Beth Orton, Leona Naess, Carrie Hamilton, and Parker Posey, did specials with Elton John (who referred to him as "Oh Fabulous One"), Willie Nelson, and Toots & the Maytals, and found time to release a punk record with Malin under the name The Finger.

Ryan started out as a punk artist in a band known as "The Patty Duke Syndrome." They released two songs in 1994 on a 7" single (two songs on one side, the other side was a band called "GlamourPuss.") Ryan described punk rock as "too hard to sing" in the song "Faithless Street" by his new outfit, Whiskeytown. Whiskeytown was part of the burgeoning alt-country movement which traces its roots to the work of a number of artists, most notably Gram Parsons. Whiskeytown quickly moved to the front of the pack in this movement with the release of their second full-length album, Stranger's Almanac. Being a member of a band was too stifling for Ryan's creativity - the only band member able to tolerate Ryan throughout was Caitlin Cary, the rest came and went in rapid succession. Their last album together, 2001's Pneumonia was held up by legal troubles and didn't come out until after Ryan had broke up the band and gone solo.

Ryan made his solo debut in 2000, with Heartbreaker. It is the story of the end of a relationship from one man's perspective. Emmylou Harris, who was the legendary Gram Parson's singing partner, sang backup on "Oh My Sweet Carolina," believed by many fans to be the best song on the album, and maybe even in the history of alt-country. On the entire album, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch contribute their talents and their distinctive sound is evident and makes this album distinct from Adams' others. It was met with considerable critical success, but sales were slow.

In 2001, Ryan released Gold, a sprawling sixteen-song album with a five-song bonus disc. He moved a bit more into rocker territory here, but stayed rooted firmly in his alt-country roots. On September 7, 2001, Ryan made a video for his song, "New York, New York." Featuring Ryan standing on the New Jersey shoreline, with the twin towers of the World Trade Center looming over his shoulders, and Ryan singing "I still love you New York," it became a near-immediate staple on MTV in the days following the September 11 attacks.

Ryan has released three albums since, and all have met with critical success, but he still has not had a breakthrough hit. One attempt was made with "So Alive," from his album Rock N Roll, which sounded like he was channeling Bono, circa 1985. A broken wrist suffered in a fall from the stage during a performance in Liverpool, England, put an end to his touring schedule for a while, and it appears that his album sales for Rock 'n' Roll and Love Is Hell (curiously, Love is Hell was originally released in two parts, Part 1 the same day as RnR, then later merged into a single album) suffered as a result.

Ryan was nominated for a Grammy Award for his cover of Oasis's "Wonderwall" from Love is Hell but did not win.

Ryan Adams Official Website

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