Raleigh music impressario Dave Rose has never worked with Ryan Adams, but he did have an interesting indirect brush with Whiskeytown greatness way back in 1995. Rose was recording that summer with his band 9811 at the Funny Farm in Apex — the same studio where Whiskeytown was making Faithless Street (Chapter five in “Losering”). And as Rose recounts in his book “Everything I Know About The Music Business I Learned From My Cousin Rick,” studio owner/engineer Greg Woods would start most 9811 sessions by making Rose listen to what he’d been working on with Whiskeytown the night before. Eventually, Rose figured something out:
I should have realized exactly what was going on here. Greg wasn’t playing my songs for Ryan Adams when he came in to record. No. Greg was playing Ryan’s songs for me…Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I should have realized: Okay, Ryan Adams = Brilliant. Dave Rose = Eh, not so much.
Still, Rose has done well for himself over the years, managing acts including Allison Moorer (who wrote the Foreword for “Cousin Rick”), Bruce Hornsby and Little Feat through his Raleigh-based company Deep South Entertainment. His book is a solid music-business primer that repeatedly makes the point that the music must come first and if it’s good enough, the business part will take care of itself. That’s a lesson I wish more musicians would heed.