When I was writing “Losering,” I struggled mightily with how to cover Whiskeytown’s Strangers Almanac — which I still maintain is the best album Ryan has ever made (and probably ever will make, too). Strangers is also a signpost for the local music community; and for me, too, a record I don’t think I’ll ever get over. Given that, recounting how the album was made and describing the music just didn’t seem like…enough. It deserved more. And so I took some liberties, writing Chapter eight as a narrative from Ryan’s perspective based on the album’s 13 songs.
Going inside Ryan’s head was the biggest chance I took, and a highly unconventional thing to do in a biography. Not surprisingly, it’s drawn a mixed response. A lot of people have told me it’s their favorite part of the book, while others don’t think it works at all. In his mostly kind review of “Losering” in The Independent Weekly, Grayson Currin summarized it thusly:
As part of a biography, it’s simply terrible; but as something like fan-fiction, there’s an honest sense of wanderlust here, a recognition that Adams has lived his life with an intimidating amount of independence. It’s something to respect, even as you disapprove.
I’ll take that. And while I’m obviously in no position to objectively judge its merits, I’d say it’s the best part of “Losering,” too. Now it’s been turned into audio cinema verite — read by me (as recorded by my buddy Scott Huler); and edited with the music from Strangers Almanac by The Ledge: Real Punk Radio host Scott Hudson. So check it out, and let me know what you think. There’s a bit more than 20 minutes of interview before it starts.
ADDENDUM: A very fine essay about Strangers, from another fan.