Ryan Adams Talks Classic Rock-Inspired New LP
Ryan Adams drew from some potentially surprising sources while dreaming up the musical landscape for his next solo LP.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the new record, due Nov. 4, has evolved beyond Adams' initial description of an album inspired by the "sonic geography" of classic releases from Bruce Springsteen and the Smiths. In its place stands a set of songs whose recordings absorbed the strains of different artists on Adams' iPod playlist.
"When I run, I listen to [an iPod] Nano that I have. I put all the AC/DC records on from back to front, or I’ll listen to the best of stuff from the ’80s: Springsteen, or [Bruce] Hornsby, and I’ll listen to what is going on there. I was listening to AC/DC’s Fly on the Wall," he recalled, "and that’s when I realized what I had to do for the record."
But if AC/DC inspired a new direction for the album, fans probably shouldn't expect to hear that band's stomping, monolithic crunch. In fact, it sounds like there's a lot more going on in terms of production — including more intricate guitar arrangements inspired by ELO and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. "I was like, ‘Wow! I understand the multicolored guitar tone moments now. You can layer stuff. I really just learned a lot.”"
To help him achieve all this, Adams turned to Grammy-winning producer Don Was, who he referred to in the interview as "Gandalf" and credited with helping him winnow down the "quite literally 80" songs he had written for the record. Adams described the end result as an album that asks some "cool, big questions" without getting unwieldy.
"I think the challenge for me — the Everest peak, for me — is to tell this story in 11 songs, to tell this part of my life in 11 songs," he added. "How do I make a real distinct record where anybody listens to it and says, ‘That’s the truth from beginning to end.’ So it’s like exercise. It sucks in the beginning. But then you get into it."
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