Viva la Vinyl: Now That You’re Gone 7″

Posted by Payton | Posted in artist spotlight, ryan adams spotlight, viva la vinyl | Posted on 03-10-2010

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The reader poll I ran for the last two weeks is now closed. The feature posts you guys enjoy the most here at are my Artist Spotlights. It’s a safe bet to assume that this victory was due more to the Ryan Adams Spotlights than the features on other artists. Coming in 3rd – behind New Digs – was Viva la Vinyl, so what better way to kick off this new, more-informed posting than with a post that tackles 2 of the top 3 features in one.

When we left off, Ryan and Lost Highway had just released Love Is Hell. Soon after, a few different ‘Wonderwall’ singles were released (2 CDs and a 7″). Included with these singles were some great B-Sides (‘One By One’, ‘I Wanna Go Home’, and ‘Suspicion’) that all made the cut on my Ryan Adams B-Side collection Sweet Black Magic. This mixtape will only be available for a few more days, so if you haven’t already, go pick it up now.

After a 2004 Halloween Promo Disc I’ve already posted, the last music Ryan Adams released before 2005 was a PAX-AM 7″ featuring early versions of tunes that would be part of his first endeavor with The Cardinals. The Now That You’re Gone 7″ was the third and final (for five years, at least) release on his PAX-Americana label. Check out the first two.

A: Ryan Adams - Now That You're Gone (vinyl rip)
B: Ryan Adams - If I Am A Stranger (vinyl rip)

So this brings us to the magical year that was 2005. The next post in the spotlight will be on Cold Roses.
Get your jam pants on…

Check out more from the Ryan Adams Spotlight:

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Mixtape VI: Sweet Black Magic (Ryan Adams B-Sides)

Posted by Payton | Posted in mixtape, ryan adams spotlight | Posted on 01-21-2010

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Before I delve into 2005 and the onset of The Cardinals in my spotlight, there’s still plenty of music that needs to be (over)examined. Now, I don’t follow much less obsess over collecting each piece of music that any artist records like I do Ryan Adams, but from what I can tell, he’s part of a select group of musicians that constantly offer up bonus tracks with each release. Forget all his ‘unreleased sessions’ or rejected albums for the moment; Ryan Adams’ extra songs recorded alongside those that made final album cuts still stack up higher than most folks’ entire catalogs.

Starting with 2001’s Gold, Ryan has rewarded pre-orders, limited editions, and often folks from other continents with extra tracks that didn’t make the proper album with nearly every release. As you’ll see, these are often as good if not better than many of the album cuts, and the mystery remains why these songs were never properly released. My Ryan Adams Spotlight posts have been adorned with many of these tracks that were ‘bonus album cuts,’ but a lot of them were never even attached to albums of his. I’ve whittled these 50 or so songs down to the best 22 to bring you Mixtape VI: Sweet Black Magic.

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Mixtape V: This One’s For The Rose

Posted by Payton | Posted in mixtape, ryan adams spotlight | Posted on 12-02-2009

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We’ve reached a large benchmark in the Ryan Adams Spotlight here at It’s 2004 and Ryan has just talked Lost Highway into releasing Love Is Hell, his solo career-ending opus. The remaining part of 2004 will see Lost Highway release various singles from Rock N Roll and Ryan himself (through PAX-AM) put out a handful of 7″ vinyls.

Those paying attention will argue that 29 was Ryan’s last ’solo’ record – and they have a point. 29 was recorded before JCN and Cold Roses, and without The Cardinals. But because it was released last out of the three 2005 masterpieces – and because the extra/bonus material from those sessions has yet to surface – I will review it later. For now, Ryan’s solo career is over and it’s time to slow down and take a look back at the multitudes of tracks released in the last 4 years.

To quote one of the greatest music-driven movies of all time, “the making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem.” I’ve been working on this mixtape basically since I started this blog. This One’s For The Rose is the quintessential ‘Greatest Hits’ formed from all of the ‘unreleased’ tracks Ryan recorded from 2000-2003. This excludes any track that was (or has since been) released in any sort of official form – as a bonus track, on a compilation, re-recorded for a later album, etc. The sessions that produced this material vary in quality, style, and genre, but then again, you could say about all of Ryan’s stuff. These collections haven’t been mastered and/or cut well, so I took this liberty of ‘cleaning’ them up a bit – cropping the tracks to eliminate leads-ins, restarts, and empty tape. These 19 tracks are split into two sides, each of which can be considered an album on its own – beginning with a strong, upbeat track, dancing around throughout the middle without a single weak song, and with one of Ryan’s signature piano ballads to cap it off.

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Ryan Adams: Love Is Hell

Posted by Payton | Posted in album review, bonus disc, ryan adams spotlight | Posted on 11-11-2009

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My last official post in the Ryan Adams Spotlight (since filled in with Viva la Vinyls and an Evolution of Song) was way back in March. In my Rock N Roll review, I mentioned that Love Is Hell was supposed to be the follow up to Demolition but was rejected (or rather put on the back-burner) by Lost Highway. Ryan subsequently recorded Rock N Roll to assuage his label, who released the blistering disc in November of 2003. And as reciprocation, Lost Highway also quietly released Love is Hell, Pt 1 the same day. The remainder of the selection of songs that would eventually become the complete collection were released as Love Is Hell, Pt 2 a month later in December of 2003. It wasn’t until May of ‘04 that the label felt it necessary to re-issue the collection as one complete set.

Ryan says LIH is “a lot like Heartbreaker, but better and more severe.” I can get on board with the latter. “It’s complex and it’s damaged, a genuine, freaked-out, psychedelic wall of soundscape, and I think for subject matter it can’t be beat.” As far as subject matter goes – and while we’re making Heartbreaker comparisons – it’s much more personal in content than his debut. He also says its “me totally being me. It was the record I needed to make.” But if Ryan has ever been accused of being the sad-bastard type of singer/songwriter, then LIH is him at his sad-bastardest.

The album isn’t his strongest, either looking forward or back, but it may just contain some of his strongest and most underrated songs. The sad part is, none of these come until the latter part of the album (or Pt. 2, if you prefer the EPs). This may be the reason that the album never became a fan favorite or was ever referred to as one of his better albums. If I were a casual listener, I would have a hard time making it to Side 2 before giving up on the album. It begins with the weakest album-opener in his repertoire, ‘Politcal Scientist‘. Afraid Not Scared‘ follows only to bore me further, going so far as to slightly annoy me with its repetitious, droll lines. Each of the 5 or so opening tracks can be considered a microcosm for the entire album itself: sure, there are some good (even great) parts, but on the whole, the depressing, metallic feel of it all overwhelms.

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black cats and fallen trees, under ladders always walkin’…

Posted by Payton | Posted in holiday | Posted on 10-31-2009

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Ryan Adams – Halloweenhead (acoustic)

Here’s my festive Halloween post for you this year. Boo.

Check out last year’s post – also featuring Ryan Adams – with re-upped song links.

Evolution of Song: What Sin Replaces Love

Posted by Payton | Posted in evolution, ryan adams spotlight, videos | Posted on 10-05-2009

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What Sin Replaces Love?
Love is gone. There’s a hole where it used to be. What is the quickest way to fill it?

That’s what Ryan Adams asks in one of his most epic songs. And he wants to know RIGHT fucking NOW. The answer he inevitably settles on seems to be murder. He wants to “kick love right in its gut; beat it and leave it for dead.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that ‘What Sin…’ was never officially included on an album. But since its inception around 2000, the song has been a live staple. While it hasn’t changed lyrically in 9 years, it has evolved from a dark, acoustic tune into a full-on electric blues jam. Let’s explore.

Tell me what sin replaces love
I wanna know, right now

Tell me what sin replaces love

I wanna know, right now

Imagine yourself on a mountain

A mountain discolored with flowers

Flowers discolored with horses

Horses distracted by stones

Stone distrusting and mean

Then you might know what I mean

I want to kick love right in its gut

Beat it and leave it for dead

Go and wash my hands in the river

Lie down and die in your bed

The voice on the receiver

Baby cry howlin’ in the wind

I don’t wanna beg for your mercy

I wanna know right know, what sin

Tell me what sin replaces love

I wanna know, right now

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Viva la Vinyl: Ryan Adams’ California 7"….

Posted by Payton | Posted in ryan adams spotlight, viva la vinyl | Posted on 09-08-2009

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Here’s another set of freshly-ripped vinyl tracks from none other than Ryan Adams. These songs make up the California 7″ EP, the second of the three PaxAM releases set free in 2004. All four sides of this collection are taken directly from 2000’s Exile on Franklin Street.

A: California
B: Waves Crashing

C: Secret Powers

D: Do You Wanna Get High?

I posted the vinyl tracks from Ryan’s first PaxAM release – The Rescue Blues EP - here and mentioned that there were rumors that Ryan was looking to resurrect the vinyl label. Well, unless there’s an imposter on a Ryan Adams forum, then the man himself has shared further details on the matter.

Wolfhunter says that certain, newer, unreleased material should be available “eventually.” Among the material to be released are Cardinology outtakes, and Cardinals IV/V, the latter of which are complete records made with the original Cardinals lineup. He also says that they will be available on vinyl and as mp3 downloads.

**Update 9-9-09**
Suspicions confirmed! Check out for an informative video of his PaxAM vinyl mastering machine. Oh, there’s also a couple mp3’s from the first pressing available for purchase – and download on Friday. Well, maybe the second release if you count the 7″ that came with the Hello Sunshine pre-order – which I should post here in a few.

You get:
•Lost and Found

•Go Ahead and Rain

for only $1.49

Hiatus officially over. Rejoice.
Check out more Viva la Vinyl at

Viva la Vinyl: Ryan Adams’ Rescue Blues 7"….

Posted by Payton | Posted in ryan adams spotlight, viva la vinyl | Posted on 07-30-2009

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In 2004, Ryan Adams started up his own small record label, Pax Americana, in order to release demo recordings of some of his tunes that Lost Highway didn’t deem worthy. He only released 3 sets – The Rescue Blues [EP], California [EP], and If I Am A Stranger [Single] – all on 7-inch vinyl. Just yesterday, I won an auction for the Stranger Single, completing my PAX-AM collection.

However, word on the street is that this label may soon be resurrected. Apparently, Ryan’s art-guy (as seen alongside Ryan in his more recent YouTube vids) twittered about (re)designing “@ryanad_ms vinyl label art” and also posted the above pic.

If you check out Ryan’s website, there’s a suspicious message that may just corroborate this intel. Decide for yourself, but in the meantime, enjoy these vinyl rips of The Rescue Blues [EP].

A: The Rescue Blues (vinyl rip)
B: Come Pick Me Up (vinyl rip)
C: Enemy Blanks (vinyl rip)
D: Tell Me How You Want Me To Feel (vinyl rip)

These original 4-track versions are definitely demo-quality, but well worth the listen. Come Pick Me Up is especially interesting, recorded at a slower pace, much like his live version. Enemy Blanks (aka Enemy Fire) gets re-structured in this set, beginning with the chorus. Rescue Blues and the unreleased Tell Me are both gritty, heavy-electric takes that showcase Ryan’s original intent for his songs.

If you’ve been keeping up with my Ryan Adams Spotlight, you may have noticed I’ve been at a standstill in the chronological album reviews. Waiting on deck is Love Is Hell – quite the review-task, if you ask me. That album definitely requires the right mood/mindset to listen to, much less review. But stay patient, I’ll get to it. After LIH, Ryan joined up with The Cardinals, and in one year, put out 3 of his most amazing albums. To help bridge this gap, I’ve created a Ryan Adams (solo) Mixtape of his best unreleased tunes. I’ve spent a lot of time adding/removing tunes, deciding on a track-order, and cropping them to fit as many as possible. It may just be the next best thing to the elusive unreleased box-set, so keep an eye out for it.

Check out more Viva la Vinyl at

Ryan Sets Free New Book and New (old) Track…

Posted by Payton | Posted in books, free music, ryan adams spotlight | Posted on 05-18-2009

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That’s the freshly positive Ryan Adams uploading a demo (somewhat acoustic) recording of ‘Magick’ to his website as a thanks for all the pre-orders of his latest written work, Hello Sunshine. Ryan’s second book of verse is purported to be a much brighter collection of poems and short fiction than his debut literary work.

The song is available for download if you know your way around the nets, but I’ll make it easy on you.
Magick (Original Home Demo)

The book – at least the pre-order – costs nearly as much as I’ve spent on my entire collection of Ryan Adams’ music, but that didn’t stop this unapologetic fan (even after Cardinology) from droppin’ the bucks. For $50 +shipping you get a hardcover version of Hello Sunshine plus a limited edition, numbered chapbook signed by Ryan. This addition, entitled Pink Magic (I guess he found the spellcheck this time) is only available through this pre-order. It’s not officially released until December 1st, but the pre-orders will ship by August 10th.

Ryan says of Hello Sunshine, “This collection was a beautiful way for me to wrap up my narrative verse style of writing before I move into writing short stories and novels. Maybe this book really is more about my connection to my senses and to the romantic. Where I was scared to read Infinity Blues after I wrote it, Hello Sunshine makes me want to eat ice cream. This book is about, quite simply, how it might feel to surrender to a love. It will reinforce everyone’s fear that I am smarter than them.”

Click here to order yours.

Now, I’ve said before that I’m not the biggest fan of poetry, but Ryan’s Infinity Blues is slowly growing on me. As I’ve made my way through the strangely spaced and punctuated verse, a handful of the selections have emerged as (somewhat) coherent and enjoyable. Here’s one that stood out to me:

In the Middle of the Night Goes the Bang
Ryan Adams

in these slow moments, when there is too much time, i feel the entire inside
world of me collapse into its pile
the words drift from me
and i am but a calm swarm
an endless end
my skin touches the edge of the desk and i know i am alive
sort of hanging
and i feel a soft heart
my own
go into the gears, go shredding
for lack of tears
and more words
for the things i could not express
and time
which will not wind itself back
where the folds of what was me and what were wishes
came undone
like a slow dress in a brutal wind
like when a flock separates
and takes no shape again
was that my soul
my heart wrapped in tin
with a wire
on ice
and a bulb too thin
or a dream too long
or a breath too kissed
words they do fine
but cannot touch
this thing i miss
a heart
inside me
in the middle of the night goes the bang

Buy Infinity Blues, if you dare.

New Digs………

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, new digs | Posted on 04-26-2009

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I know, remember these? The feature that was supposed to be a weekly update on music new to my inbox has been shelved for quite some time now. Through much of the winter, I simply wasn’t finding anything new – at least nothing post-worthy. But now, I have way too many new jams to choose from – so lets get right to it.

Slaid Cleaves – Beautiful Thing

Slaid’s first set of original material in 5 years was quite the anticipated release for me. Don’t expect Slaid to surprise you with anything new or groundbreaking, but the troubadour proves he’s still the foremost American Folksinger with 2009’s Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away.

buy Everything You Love…

Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – The Dam Song

Just as I suspected, Sam Crain’s first full-length album is nothing short of amazing. If you’ve heard the band’s HearYa Live Session, many of the songs here won’t be brand-new to you, but they sound even better with proper studio treatment. The handful of brand new songs are even more inspiring. BUY THIS ONE!

buy Songs In The Night

Steve Earle – To Live Is To Fly

Mr. Earle’s tribute to lifelong friend and mentor Townes Van Zandt is set for release in May. A few tracks have been previewed here and there, and it sounds like Steve will bring a new vibe to the songwriting legend’s work, while still staying true to his legacy.

Check out the 4-song EP (iTunes) and stay tuned to for a forthcoming pre-order.

Iron & Wine – Peace Beneath The City (acoustic version)

Sam Beam has been generous enough to offer up a FREE DOWNLOAD of 8 acoustic versions of tunes from 2007’s The Shepherd’s Dog. Think old-school, mellow I&W treatment to his new, fuller sound. The songster will also soon release Around The Well – a 3LP collection of rarities and never-before-released tracks.

Check his dot com for more info and the full download.

Frightened Rabbit – Last Tango In Brooklyn

Scottish folk-rock outfit Frightened Rabbit was a late, yet still warranted addition to my Best of 2008 Album list. The band has recently contributed a tune for Lifted Brow’s latest compilation album. It echoes the softer side of the band’s material. Good stuff.

Frightened Rabbit MySpace/Website
Buy The Lifted Brow IV

Sam Quinn & Japan Ten – Hello

I posted a video of this recording back here. I can’t stop watching/listening, so I ripped the audio for you fine folks. The sound quality is as good as a proper recording.

Sam Quinn & Japan Ten MySpace

Jill Andrews – Rehearsal

The other half of The Everybodyfields has been at work on new material as well. On her site, she’s giving away the first taste of said work. The recording is a little rough, but her vocals help to put some shine on it.

Jill Andrews MySpace/Website

Ryan Adams – Like A Fool (Superchunk Cover)

While waiting to see just how long Ryan’s sabbatical will last, I came across a link to a Merge Records compilation disc featuring non-Merge artists covering Merge’s greatest. The album helped in celebrating the label’s 20th birthday. I bet you can guess just how excited I was to see ‘ol Ryan on the set. The tune sounds like a polished Pinkheart song. Others taking part include: The Shins, Bright Eyes, Okkervil River, and The Mountain Goats.

buy SCORE! 20 years of Merge Records

Also, my wandering mouse has recently run across leaks for the new albums from both Dylan and Son Volt. Don’t worry, I’m gonna be a good music fan and purchase both of the quite impressive discs upon their release. Sorry, for fear of my life and this blog’s, I’m not gonna offer up any tracks from them just yet.