Ryan Adams has a history of rubbing people the wrong way and he's arguably the most frustrating talent in music. Here's why. (Via Kaus, sorry but I still can't quite figure out how his permalinks work.)
But instead of carefully cultivating the momentum, Adams seemed to subvert it, leaving the field open to new forces such as Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst. The last couple of years have been a dizzying collage of high-profile girlfriends (Parker Posey, Winona Ryder, Beth Orton et al.), public tantrums, battles with his record label, a broken wrist, an ear infection and canceled tours.
Adams' three albums this year — the two-CD set "Cold Roses," "Jacksonville City Nights" and the new "29" — are the products of the creative drive that Adams put into gear after recovering from the broken wrist — an injury he suffered early last year in a fall from a stage in Liverpool.
His moments of brilliance have kept fans hooked, but the volume and inconsistency of his output have created a consensus that he would be better off spending more time on one record and putting out fewer of them.
Adams goes on to be quoted about this view of his work.
"I am kind of quite sick of people going, 'If he would have just taken all three of these records and dumped them down to one album he would have a perfect double album.' It's like, 'Well you guys be my ... manager, then. I don't know, I like them all. I figure, you know, Mom makes too much meatloaf means we got leftovers. It doesn't mean that she did something wrong."
From his perspective as "the artist" you can't disagree with him. Even as "a fan" I tend to fall in line with his assessment. He's become one of the handful of artists that I'll buy whatever he puts out. But as his friends and record company people in the article claim, it's hard to grow an audience releasing 3 albums (one of which is a double-cd) inside 8 months. So as a "consumer" who is not a diehard fan you're screwed somewhat.
One of the guys at Hickory Wind put together his version of a Ryan Adams album culling the songs from the three releases down to 15 songs. I agree with most of his choices, but below the fold are the songs I'd put together to create The Great Ryan Adams Album of 2005.