Ryan Adams might not play his native state anymore, but he does take a little of it with him wherever he goes — even to the other side of the world. Here’s a lovely version of his 2000 Old North State ode “Oh My Sweet Carolina” that Ryan played the other night in Melbourne, Australia, with Jenny Lewis covering the Emmylou Harris vocal harmony. While the visuals are on the blurry side, the audio is very nice.
Posts Tagged With: Jenny Lewis
So yeah, Ryan Adams’ self-imposed Old North State exile remains in effect, with no sign it will end anytime soon. But even if Ryan himself doesn’t come around here anymore, at least that doesn’t seem to keep any of his associates away. By the close of this coming weekend, in fact, two of his most recent production clients will have headlined shows here within the span of a week.
Following Jenny Lewis in Saxapahaw this past Monday, the next in line is onetime Marvelous 3 leader Butch Walker, who plays Durham’s Carolina Theatre on Sunday night. Ryan produced Walker’s lovely new album Afraid of Ghosts (Dangerbird Records), which (1) was released on a label run by Whiskeytown’s old manager, oddly enough; (2) is, like Lewis’ The Voyager and the most recent effort from Ethan Johns, yet another Ryan-produced record that I find vastly superior to last fall’s Ryan Adams; and (3) has kind an ironic title, given that something like a fear of old ghosts might well be what’s kept Ryan away for so long. The ghost has got me runnin’, indeed.
Anyway, a bit more verbiage about Walker from the paper can be found here.
I heard from a fair number of people yesterday, all asking some variation of the same question: Do you think Ryan Adams will turn up at the Jenny Lewis show tonight?…
Aw, bless your hearts, you crazy naive kids.
And yet the question did have some apparent plausibility, all things considered. Lewis and Ryan are chums, he produced her 2014 album The Voyager and she accompanied him to the Grammys this past spring. More to the point, Lewis is the support act on the current leg of his tour, in which capacity she opened for Ryan Sunday night in Charlottesville and will do the same Tuesday night in Charleston. Yes, it’s hard not to notice that his tour routing seems designed to surround North Carolina without playing it, hitting every adjoining state except us with such deliberation that it has to be on purpose (and we’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the last time he played Raleigh).
Anyway, Ryan again bypassing the state that lies between Virginia and South Carolina left a hole in the tour schedule Monday night. So Lewis took the opportunity to play a headlining show of her own at the Haw River Ballroom, in the old mill town of Saxapahaw about an hour west of Raleigh. And if Ryan were to get a wild hair and decide to make an impulsive settle-up gesture with the Old North State, sort of like what he did with “Summer of ’69” at the Ryman last week, an unannounced cameo some distance away from his former downtown Raleigh stomping grounds seemed as likely as anything else.
So of course, it didn’t happen. Lewis played her show and it was quite fine, but Ryan did not appear. The only mention of him onstage was a story Lewis told at the end of her set about Ryan forcing her to write one more song for The Voyager — which he didn’t like, so she made it the album’s title track (ha!). Gotta say, I do like The Voyager a lot more than Ryan Adams, and hearing its songs live underscored that; especially “The New You,” which is still bouncing around my head a day later.
As for where Ryan was last night if not Saxapahaw, if his Twitter feed is to be believed, he was already in Charleston and seeking pinball machines:
So as we’ve covered repeatedly (most recently in Rolling Stone), Ryan Adams don’t come around here no more — “here” being his native state of North Carolina. It’s hard to say why. As I wrote in the “Losering” preface, he is remembered more fondly in his old hometown of Raleigh than he may realize; but I guess that fondness is not two-way, whatever the reason.
In any event, Ryan seems to go to some lengths to avoid playing shows in North Carolina these days, even when he’s in the vicinity. His upcoming late-spring Southeastern tour, for example, will find Ryan playing in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina and later Georgia — surrounding The Old North State without playing there. His tour mate Jenny Lewis is scheduled to peel off from Ryan’s tour for a night and play Saxapahaw’s Haw River Ballroom on May 4, but Ryan is not on the bill.
Still, hope springs eternal. And here we have a grassroots campaign by Raleigh superfan Tony Sicilia to lure Ryan back home via the Tweet below, with a dinner invitation. Come on, Ryan, how can you refuse an offer of home-cooking?