I have always found it quite amusing that the real-life “Faithless Street” — one of the actual places where Ryan Adams lived in Raleigh during Whiskeytown’s early days, where events transpired that would turn up in songs on the band’s 1996 full-length debut Faithless Street — was actually right next to a place literally called Hope. Back then, he was living in the neighborhood adjacent to NC State University; an old rental house located on Logan Court, at the corner of Logan and Hope Street, just off the Hillsborough Street strip and about a block away from Sadlack’s.
But alas, time marches on, there’s no stopping progress and so on. As with Sadlack’s, the Brewery, the Velvet Cloak and so many other landmarks from Raleigh’s 1990s-vintage Whiskeytown era, the wrecking ball has struck again. Below is what the block where Ryan used to live looks like now, no doubt on its way to being transformed into another faceless residential/retail development. I guess there’s just too much money to be made for it to be otherwise, but it still kind of breaks my heart to see this happen — again and again and again…
Speaking of folks with closets-full of Whiskeytown artifacts, Thomas O’Keefe’s latest eBay auction lot consists of a dozen items circa 1997-98, including a page of handwritten lyrics; an original copy of the “Theme for a Trucker” seven-inch vinyl single; and assorted pieces of tour and promotional paraphernalia connected to Whiskeytown’s time on Outpost Records. The lyrics, from a Forever Valentine-vintage song called “House for Sale,” probably have the most historical significance. But what caught my eye was this canceled check for $150, which Ryan Adams started to write to pay for his power bill before scratching that out and writing it for his phone bill. This is a snapshot of a moment in time, and not just because “Bell South,” “CP&L” and “Wachovia” were all swallowed up by other corporations long ago. The July 30, 1997 date is one day after Whiskeytown’s Strangers Almanac album was released.
It’s also a document of a place. I always thought of the Logan Court address printed on this check — in Raleigh’s University Park neighborhood west of Sadlack’s and north of the Hillsborough Street strip right behind Bruegger’s Bagels, at the intersection of Logan, Chamberlain and (ha) Hope streets — as the real-life Faithless Street, the setting for that time period’s songs. I lived just a few blocks away back then and remember going by his house a time or two, including one quite memorable afternoon in the spring of 1996 when he played me a bunch of demo recordings of excellent new songs that I don’t think ever came out (that’s in chapter six of “Losering”).
Meanwhile, bidding for this lot currently stands at $100 and closes on the afternoon of Thursday, March 12.
UPDATE (3/12/2015): The winning bid, $445.