incomplete. Only a partial tape of this show is in circulation.
Songs marked ^ are based on concert reviews (see
whiskeytownavenues messages 2351 and 2355)
* with Mike
Daly on pedal steel
Poison And The Pain = “The next couple of songs I’ve never
played for people before, and there both called ‘The (something) And
The (something). Damn,
maybe somebody has heard ‘em. And
this first song is about the devil, or satan or [???], Lucifer,
fucking, that guy. And I
really don’t know where to go from that.
And actually, when I was writing I thought to myself how
strange, how odd it is that Slayer, who I really think are a super,
good fucking band that make great records, I am not kidding,
everything that they do is really fucking good, but they write a lot
of songs about you know, the devil, you know – dial, he’ll page
you right back. And then,
but then, so did a lot of bluegrass writers and stuff, they wrote
songs about the devil only, if you were 14 and brought home a copy of
like a Bill Monroe record or something, you parents would probably go,
‘That’s, whatever, great.’ But if you brought home like a Slayer it was this really big
fucking deal. So without
any further ado, here is my song about the devil.”
String And The Wire = “This is called “The String And The
Wire.” . . . It’s really long and really totally boring, so if you
need to get a drink or something, this is the best song to go. If I drank, I would go and have a drink.”
With Wounds = “I originally wrote this song for Caitlin Cary
who’s in my band, Whiskeytown, for her record, and she kindly
rejected the fuck out of it. Which
I thought was really cool which I knew it meant it was a really ‘me’
type tune. Cause for her
it would have to sound like I came for Ireland or something.
No really, I’m just goofing on her.
She liked it, she just didn’t understand what it meant and I
said I didn’t either, cause it just happens.
So here is that song.”
Town = “So, I didn’t use to like this song and I like it now,
I think it’s a good song.”
(New York City, NY)
January 5, 2000
Two and a half years since the release of Whiskeytown's sadly beautiful
*Stranger's Almanac*, leader Ryan Adams quietly surfaced - like that
groundhog in Punxsutawney - to perform newly-penned solo material on a
midwinter night at New York City's eminent rock womb, the Mercury Lounge.
That evening, Adams had confirmed plans to watch *Fargo* and not smoke
cigarettes, but because he lives a bass pick's throw from the club, he
perfect sense as a last-minute fill-in for Philadelphia band Marah, who
canceled. Word traveled though town at the speed of a D Train, and what
harvested was a salivating crowd of Whiskeytown fans feeling luckier than
Stage lights were sprayed across the black ceiling, their
meeting in a collective yellow mass upon a single wooden chair. Near
behind a curtain of hair, Adams stood with a notebook and an acoustic
guitar, and politely asked if we buzzing New York City rock patrons would
mind if he sound-checked real quick. [Okay, but hurry.] The joke was on
though; he was twisting pegs around already.
He played 16 songs, 13 of which were new. The greater part
with the description: "This is another sad song about...me." In
"sad" meant handsome, unveiling, struggling declarations of
adulthood and heartbreak and the effects true love has on a body. And
these lyrics and chords may not be fixed in Adams' memoirs just yet (he
referenced his notebook now and then), they are for certain fully realized
emotions and damn lovely songs.
Among them were the morphinic "Born Yesterday",
which remembered the
Beatles; "To Be The One", which ached around the verse "I
don't know which
is worse/To wake up and see the sun/Or to be the one that's gone";
Steve-Earlesque "The Poison And The Pain", concerning the Devil.
played Whiskeytown numbers "16 Days", "Dancing With The
Women At The Bar", and a chilling "Houses On The Hill," all
accompanied by the band's pedal
steel player Mike Daly (who also sat in with the opening act, Health &
Alongside Adams' bone-crunching economical imagery were
morning-voice vocals and unadorned guitar work, making for a pleasantly
spare stage presence. Between songs, however, he revealed loads of good
temper and spark. He introduced Daly as the "Sideshow Bob of
and called his pedal steel "a math problem." He also chatted up
about such matters as how hard Slayer rocks. It was good to see this
chop-busting side of Adams; otherwise, taking his songwriting into
you might worry about him.
After playing for nearly two hours, Adams graciously
thanked the room for
coming to see him, or for staying "if you came to see someone
else." And not
unlike that groundhog who sees his shadow on frosty grass, he turned
and went back to his den. Could mean it's going to be a long winter, but a
long winter might be the perfect scenery for a new Whiskeytown record.
- LYNN BRYAN