By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Those lucky 150 people who attended Ryan Adams' recent intimate KCRW session, taped for the station at Santa Monica's Berkeley Street Studio and scheduled to be aired on Dec. 2, got an up-close look at an amazing musician at the top of his game.
Wearing a Slayer T-shirt and Vision Streetwear kicks, Adams picked up his Buck Owens-model acoustic guitar and plucked out the ringing notes of "Oh Sweet Carolina." Immediately, the room seemed to get even smaller. Dunking his harmonica in a glass of water, Adams continued with "Ashes & Fire," the mouth harp adding some extra zest to the foot-tapping, rambling tune.
"My Winding Wheel," off Heartbreaker, had Adams precariously leaning forward in his chair while he expertly plucked out the notes on his guitar. Adams recommended that the audience listen to AC/DC's "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" and "Hells Bells" while cruising down Sunset Boulevard; he then dove into "Invisible Riverside."
In Adams' interview with Jason Bentley, host of the station's Morning Becomes Eclectic, he waxed effusive about his love of black metal, explaining how the low guitar tunings of Celtic Frost's "Into the Crypts of Rays" had been copied by Alice In Chains and further devolved into Collective Soul. After some more revealing insights into his songwriting process, Adams effortlessly began a razor-sharp rendition of "Let It Ride." Taking off his wedding ring for "an amazing solo at the end of the song," Adams tore up "Please Do Not Let Me Go," leaving the audience breathless.
"Lucky Now" and "Chains of Love" were flawless, as Adams strummed out chords that most likely don't appear on your Spotify playlist. Dipping into the Whiskeytown catalog, Adams' encore featured "Somebody Remembers the Rose," "Houses On the Hill," and "Jacksonville Skyline." He also took some time to praise the latest Ratt album, Infestation, gleefully declaring that every song is as good as "Round and Round."
Ignoring the time constraints and continuing to play songs because he was in such a good mood, Adams worked through "When Will You Come Back Home?" and "Yesterday" to wrap up his five-song encore. Set your dial for KCRW-FM 89.9 on Dec. 2 for a taste of Ryan Adams—and hope he will announce a show in Orange County sometime soon. From a Nov. 17 Heard Mentality blog post.