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Live Music Friday – Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, live on NPR’s World Cafe

Just so that everyone knows, my iPod has officially given up the ghost, completely and utterly without warning. With most of my music on there, this is severely going to impact posting, and – quite frankly, more importantly – completely bums me out. Anyone want to start a “donate to help Matthew buy another iPod as he’s already in mountains of debt” fund? Oh wait, I already did… a shameless cry for help, yes, I know, but a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do…

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Anyway. Welcome back to another Live Music Friday. For today’s post, I thought I’d fall back on the always sublime Ryan Adams and the Cardinals.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals Live

Last year, in 2007, I was finally lucky enough to see Ryan Adams & The Cardinals perform live at The Tivoli, in Brisbane… and it was everything I had hoped it would be. The band are unbelievably tight, and despite Ryan’s well-known cantakerous exterior, he really does have this magical ability to pull you right into the song, taking you along to ride the melody and lyrics beside him.

This set is also from 2007, from a performance on the always wonderful NPR’s World Cafe (which also gave us the wonderful Counting Crows performance featured here).

The show finds Ryan at his sardonic best, with sarcastic observations peppered between the songs.
If nothing else, make sure that you listen to the tracks “I Taught Myself To Grow Old”, with Ryan’s voice soaring at it’s heart-breaking best, and a lovely slower version of the normally manic “Let It Ride”. While it’s a short set-list, and lacks for the regular “Magnolia Mountain” and “Wildflowers”, it’s a powerful set nonetheless. And don’t worry… I have a much longer Ryan Adams show that I’m sure I’ll post in the future, with a 10 minute version of “Magnolia Mountain”, so no fear there.
Something about this show, however, just connects with me. It’s a Ryan Adams quality – and a very distinctive one at that – that when I hear him live, it hits me like a shovel to the chest. It’s a very personal connection, and one that no other artist has managed to come close to, for me at least (save for Alex Dezen of The Damnwells, who is nipping at Ryan’s heels for my adulation).

I suppose that that was really a long-winded way of saying: “Ryan’s music makes my world a better place. It describes that bit that is simply out of the reach of words“. And while that’s a terribly trite comment to read on a music blog, it’s true nonetheless.

I hope it does the same for you.

Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, Live on World Cafe, 15 June 2007

1.) Introduction
2.) Two
3.) I Taught Myself To Grow Old
4.) Winding Wheel
5.) I See Monsters
6.) Goodnight Hollywood Boulevard
7.) Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.
8.) Nightbirds
9.) Let It Ride
10.) Blue Hotel

2008 releases artists digital downloads guitar live songs music rock gods

Counting Crows live on WXPN – Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings

Thank god for WXPN – as usual they’ve brought the goods with NPR’s latest World Cafe show, featuring Counting Crows live, previewing eight (yes, I said eight) songs from their forthcoming album, Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings.

Counting Crows - Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings
(Counting Crows previewed Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings on WXPN World Cafe)

We’ve already previewed some of the new songs here before, so I won’t be posting the whole set (but if you’re really desperate, then drop a comment here and let me know; perhaps we can work something out). That said, this show exemplifies one of the reasons I feel Counting Crows is one of the greatest live acts around: Adam goes into great detail to give you the backstory of each song, and really makes you feel part of a greater experience; as if we’re all sharing the same journey, the same ride.

As mentioned in our previous post about the album, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings is really a double album: The “Saturday Nights” half is ostensibly the more “rock” half, and the “Sunday Mornings” the more acoustic. On this World Cafe show (which was aired on February 8th), Counting Crows performed four songs from each side. I’ll be posting one song from each half for now; the first is “Cowboys” from the “Saturday Nights” section, and the second is “Washington Square“, from the “Sunday Mornings” section.

I could try and write up an analysis of each song. But really, who can do it better than Adam himself? So I’ll leave the smart words to him, in his introduction to each song. I will say this though; I’ve been hesitant to get excited about this album. This set might just have changed that.

Again, if you’d like me to post the whole set, then drop a comment and let me know.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Counting Crows – Cowboys (live on WXPN/World Cafe)
Listen: Counting Crows – Washington Square (live on WXPN/World Cafe)