Country music is country music, and the best definition of what country music is, is that you know it when you hear it. It’s self-evident. But the genre has birthed many subgenres, many stylistic movements over the years, and at times has seen a splintering and Balkanization.
The rise of Ryan Adams and his original band Whiskeytown amidst the burgeoning alt-country scene is the stuff of legend, or infamy depending on your perspective. And now it will be memorialized in ink in all of its debaucherous detail in a new book called “Waiting to Derail: Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, Alt-Country’s Brilliant Wreck.”
When the topic of discussion turns to legacy alt-country bands, it’s easy for the Old 97’s to get left out of the mix, and unfairly so. Since their epicenter revolves around Dallas, and not Austin, Nashville, or Los Angeles, it seems like they’re always a little more out-of-sight, out-of-mind than their mammoth output and legacy deserves.
A mild tempest brewed last week when Saving Country Music unearthed some quotes from non-country artist Ryan Adams from a Buzzfeed feature originally published in September. Adams said that he didn’t want to be known as country, hated the music, and had only made country music with his 90’s band Whiskeytown and the early part of his solo career as an “irony.”
Ryan Adams was one of the unquestionable leaders of this punk-infused country music conquest, and that is why it was so disconcerting to read recently that apparently he not only does not like country music, but he apparently never has, never really cared about it even when he was playing it, and certainly doesn’t want anything to do with it now.
This initial offering from The Loudermilks finds the band ranging from the bluegrass-inspired and steel guitar-drenched opening number “Watch ‘Em Fall”, to the the nearly straightforward rock styling of “The Plan”, accomplishing all with equal ability to enrapture the audience and appeal to whichever musical leanings the listener happens to carry.
Originally cut in Nashville in 1996 and sitting on the shelf ever since, Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings is a remarkable little gem unearthed these many years later, offering a window into a time right before Waylon’s health began to fail him, and right as the Old 97’s were rising in the alt-country tide alongside bands like Wilco and Whiskeytown.
Some criticize that there’s not enough talk around here about the Texas music scene, and I couldn’t agree more. There’s some great music going on down there, and unfortunately I just don’t have the time to sink my teeth into it all. That was one reason I set up the Saving Country Music message board, […]
Album, Black Joe Lewis, Free Download, Hank Williams, Hayes Carll, Johnny Cash, Lost Highway Records, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Rayn Bingham, Robert Earl Keen, Ryan Adams, T For Texas T From Tennessee, Whiskeytown, Willie Nelson