“Come Pick Me Up” on the BBC

RyanBBCHere’s the thing about Ryan Adams: Even when he’s being a gigantic pain in the ass, he’s still just about always the best musician in the room. One particular case in point is an October 2011 BBC Songwriters’ Circle taping that Ryan played with Neil Finn and Janis Ian, an event referenced in Chapter 17 of “Losering.” According to eyewitness accounts, some bad vibes went down and most observers seemed to blame Ryan — although Ryan disputed that and argued about it online, calling accounts of his misbehavior “fan fiction.” But at the very least, it seems safe to say that Ryan didn’t endear himself to his fellow performers based on what was said afterward.

Just another Ryan Adams story, right? Right, one of many. Ultimately, however, the interpersonal drama matters a lot less than the absolutely stunning version of “Come Pick Me Up” he played at the show. Give it a look, and I dare you not to get a lump in your throat because it really is that good. It appears that there’s some tension in the way Finn and Ian are looking at Ryan, and yet they also both appear to be fairly blown away by what they’re hearing; I love how they’re both singing along under their breath.

It’s the type of performance that earns redemption, if not forgiveness.



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6 thoughts on ““Come Pick Me Up” on the BBC

  1. sharon

    This bums me out to reread again (why do I?)–they look a little bad but he looks very bad, no way around it. The thing about a lot of us “DRA fans” is this, I don’t think we chose him, he chose us. I think this is the mysterious way obsession works. Anyway, this whole exchange I find so embarrassing for him (and “us”). When he was younger and hardly ever sober you could put it in a different category. Harder to do that these days, though to his credit there are fewer such stories. But, hey, people are complex and there’s all kinds of really lowdown backstabbing behavior that smoother operators get away with. His transparency really works in his art (think lowly worm confession of bad behavior in Harder Now That it’s over: “When I threw that drink in that guys face/It was just to piss you off…”), not so much in life when he’s not in control of his emotions and insecurities. Frankly, the key to my enjoyment of his persona has a lot to do with the romance of the character he’s built up across many of his songs, one who pines for wonderful beautiful women he’s not good enough for (and as bad and unworthy as he is in his lyrical confessions, that self awareness and honesty at the same time resurrects him as noble in the ears of the listener, especially the female listener I’m guessing). He works this very cleverly and I enjoy being swept up in it but also looking at it coldly from a distance and admiring the manipulation. It’s a classic literary conceit he’s woven into alt-country and steel guitars of all things. Beth Orton, et al as Beatrice???!!!

  2. Mike Q

    What an incredible performance. Everything else is completely irrelevant in my opinion.

  3. Lump. Thanks.

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