Ryan Adams, reviewed


From a true Ashvegas audiophile – hell, le’ts just call him Audiophile for now. Here’s his take on last night’s Ryan Adams show at the Thomas Wolfe:

Grizzled Adams

Ian Stewart would be jealous. Even the tenured Stones sideman didn’t get to bust out a hushed, solo version of Brown Sugar on piano during a show.

Alt country poster boy Ryan Adams’ can follow his bliss, however, and his brooding, slow jazz version of the tune was a highlight of his show last night at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. “That was scary, man,” murmured one spectator. “Play whatever the fuck you want to,” shouted another approvingly from across the venue.

Although the show did not sell out, the members of Asheville’s faded T-shirt crowd who ventured out on a Monday enjoyed a compelling if occasionally erratic two-set performance from Adams and his current backing band, the Cardinals.

After opening with a string of riff-heavy tunes from his new double-disc Cold Roses, Adams looked lost before abandoning his guitars for the piano. “Jesus Christ” he announced as he sat to play a soulful “Rescue Blues” to loud applause. Mercifully, no one shouted for “Summer of ’69” during the pause.

A Tar Heel native, Adams long ago left Eastern North Carolina for the hipster vortex of Manhattan’s East Village. But he showed his native land (and Andie McDowell) some love toward the end of the night. “Its really humbling to come back and play in this state,” he said. “In my humble opinion Asheville is a pretty great place.”

In the second set, Adams ran the band through “To Be Young” and “My Winding Wheel” from 2000’s Heartbreaker before closing with a solo acoustic performance.

After dismissing the band, he muttered an extended apology about having to rush through the encores before curfew. But Adams managed to avoid smashing his acoustic guitar, as your AshevilleBlog music correspondent watched him do during a Whiskeytown gig in Charlotte years ago.

This time, he set the instrument face down on the stage and walked off.