This staff pick comes from Justin, Institutional Strategy and Planning
I think every rock fan has a moment where they “discover” a great voice in country music. For most people, it’s Johnny Cash, or maybe Hank Williams. For me, it was Ryan Adams, when he was writing and singing for Whiskeytown.
I had just moved to San Francisco, was looking for work, didn’t really know anyone; punk rock just wasn’t capturing the right mood for those long solo walks down Mission Street. While shopping for records (remember those?) one day, I heard an album that sounded like I felt – melancholy, maybe a bit regretful, a little rough around the edges – Whiskeytown’s Strangers Almanac. I bought a copy on vinyl and listened to it so much at home that I went back the next week and bought another copy on CD. Strangers Almanac stayed in my Discman (remember those?) for most of the rest of that year, and to this day, it’s still in semi-regular rotation.
A few years later, I was in that same record store when I saw that Ryan Adams had gone solo and put out an album, Heartbreaker. Of course, I bought it immediately, and although I was feeling much happier than when I first heard Whiskeytown, I was no less knocked out – I’m actually listening to it right now, as I write this! Since then, I’ve looked forward to every one of his albums, and he has yet to let me down. Can’t wait to see the show at the Academy of Music on December 2 – and if you hear some nerdy superfan shouting out for “The Drugs Not Working,” that’s me!