When we last heard from our good friend Ryan Adams, he had just wrapped up recording and releasing a cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989, giving the little-known indie songwriter’s album a makeover in the vein of 1980’s style Replacements mixed with Adams’ own brand of neo-country. Despite UPROXX graciously offering up some suggestions for his next project, Adams has gone back to his own well and is set to release his first album of original material since his excellent 2014 self-titled album. The as-of now untitled album, Adams’ sixteenth, is set to be released on Nov. 4.
But what can we expect to hear from Adams, who has proven to be a chameleon of sorts throughout his career, whether it’s as a solo act, as a member of Whiskeytown or fronting Ryan Adams and the Cardinals? His last album was drenched in the California sun of the ’70s, echoing sounds and vibes of early Tom Petty, Graham Parsons and more. And then you know, he covered a Taylor Swift album. So really, what’s the new album going to sound like is somewhat of a loaded question.
Adams recently spoke with EW, shedding some light on the new album and the recording process, which included him writing nearly 80 songs, pairing it down to 11 and turning to the iconic producer Don Was, who has worked with Bonnie Raitt and the Rolling Stones, for some direction and advice:
“I didn’t know if I knew what I was doing. So when you’re in a situation like that, you gotta get Gandalf — you gotta call Don Was!”
Being able to dial up a music legend is an enviable position for a songwriter to be in. The fact that Adams was able to do so serves as a helpful reminder of just how long he’s been around and how influential he is. Yet speaking of influences, who has been the one influencing Adams has always been an interesting nugget and with his upcoming album, and he’s managed to surprise us again.
“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 and that’s when I realized what I had to do for the record.”
Adams also added that he looked to bands such as Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Electric Light Orchestra for inspiration when it came to workshopping guitar sounds.
So if you’re keeping score at home, we have AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Hornsby, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and ELO. Makes sense to me!