April 24, 2011

Ryan Adams: unannounced, with new songs in Los Angeles

On Thursday night, Ryan Adams showed up unannounced to open for Emmylou Harris at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. The lucky crowd got to hear four completely stunning new songs (including “Dirty Rain“) that showcase that heartbreaking sound that I haven’t heard from Ryan in a while. The truth remains that his voice is one of the most piercing I know.

He also performed gorgeous versions of two of my more recent favorites: “Blue Hotel” and “Everybody Knows,” as well as his duet with Emmylou. The crowd reaction is hilarious; at the beginning of one new song, you can hear a girl asking the name of the artist, and the guy next to her saying, “He said his name is RYAN.” Then you hear a guy lean in an say, “Um, that’s Ryan Adams.”

Ryan is in excellent spirits, joking with Emmylou when she asks the crowd if they managed to keep his appearance a secret (“It was a secret to me!” Ryan says. “I’m glad I was eating across the street!”). Then they launch into one of the most stunning versions of “Oh My Sweet Carolina” that I’ve ever heard (the song they originally duetted on, on Heartbreaker). That is such a goddamn good song. I always forget how many times in a row I can listen to it — it’s a lot.

Dirty Rain (new)
New untitled #1
(his voice at 1:48 slays me)
New untitled #2
New untitled #3
Blue Hotel
Everybody Knows
Oh My Sweet Carolina (with Emmylou Harris)


Welcome back, Ryan.

These songs are enough to make me wish I was going to Europe this summer:

June 07 – Cork, Ireland Opera House
June 08 – Dublin, Ireland Olympia Theatre
June 10 – Stockholm, Sweden Cirkus
June 11 – Oslo, Norway Folketeatret
June 13 – Malmö, Sweden The Consert House
June 14 – Copenhagen, Denmark Koncerhauset
June 16 – Lisbon, Portugal Aula Magna
June 17 – Porto, Portugal Teatro Sa Da Bandeira
June 19 – London, UK Barbican
June 20 – London, UK Barbican
June 22 – Brighton, UK Dome
June 23 – Manchester, UK Bridgewater Hall
June 25 – Glasgow, UK Academy
June 26 – Oxford, UK Oxford New Theatre
June 28 – Amsterdam, Holland Concertgebouw

All ticket information available on PAX-AM.


  • Thank you Heather for posting the zip file of this amazing performance. I had a very good friend make it to the show and hearing his details, indeed makes me want to book a flight to Europe this June =)

    It’s comforting to know Ryan is in warm spirits and making such beautiful music. I can’t wait to hear the new LP…

    Peace be onto you and your loved ones,

    mano1971music — April 25, 2011 @ 1:17 am

  • Heather huge thanks for posting this. May the rays of the Denver sun shine brightly upon you! My chums and I have secured tickets for the Oxford gig in June and Ryan Adams playing in the “city of dreaming spires” is a fantastic prospect. I am wishing the months away even though the UK at the present is going through a mini heatwave. Take care.

    Muddydwaters — April 25, 2011 @ 3:25 am

  • Thanks so much! Unfortunately the Copenhagen show is sold out and I didn’t get tickets. So being anywhere in Europe is no guarantee…

    Rune — April 25, 2011 @ 4:31 am

  • Thank you so much for posting this! What a lucky crowd! :)

    selena — April 25, 2011 @ 6:58 am

  • [...] Adams dök, helt oannonserat, upp och agerade uppvärmare för Emmylou Harris på El Rey i LA i torsdags. Hyfsad påskpresent för de som var där. Han körde flera nya låtar, däribland underbara Dirty [...]

    Ryan Adams – Dirty Rain « La Cienega — April 25, 2011 @ 7:30 am

  • Many many many thanks, Heather!! These new songs will carry me for a very long time until I *hopefully* get to see Ryan again in Seattle. Fingers crossed until it happens. -Erik

    Erik — April 25, 2011 @ 9:12 am

  • Sounds nice, thanks for sharing it. Nice primer for seeing him in a few weeks.

    Blue Koyote — April 25, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  • Thanks Heather. I cannot wait to give this a listen.

    Kev in STL

    Kevin — April 25, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  • I have to share a line form the above Swedish comment, courtesy of google translate:

    “Adams appeared, completely unannounced, and was acting up heater for Emmylou Harris …”

    I can only picture the “acting up heater” in a Christmas Story.

    Rand — April 25, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  • Ahahahahaa I love you!!! That comment, and the subsequent visualization, made my Monday.
    “My father worked in profanity as some other artists work in oil, or clay. It was his medium. He wove a tapestry of obscenities that, as far as we know, is still hanging in a cloud somewhere over Lake Michigan.” (caveat: from memory)

    browneheather — April 25, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  • Score! I can’t believe i was down the street from this show. Glad i can hear it even though i missed it.

    Josh — April 25, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  • Thanks for posting this heather it’s awesome i’m so glad i managed to get tickets for manchester :)

    Smudge — April 25, 2011 @ 10:53 am

  • It’s amazing how much influence paul simon continues to have over popular music (in a good way, if you ask me).

    Earnest — April 25, 2011 @ 11:42 am

  • This couldn’t have been a better post~! Some of our friends went to this show and said it was magical.

    Killer Hype — April 25, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  • Thanks for posting this gem. Nice work Heather…great site.

    Tom Dellinger — April 25, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  • Thanks so much for posting these! The new songs are as good as anything he’s ever done, in my opinion.

    Michael — April 25, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  • It does sound like the crowd was lucky. Emmylou Harris puts on a good show, and these tracks from Ryan Adams sound great. I agree about liking the sound of the new songs, and “Oh My Sweet Carolina” is one of my favorites. Thanks for posting these.

    Chimesfreedom — April 25, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  • So I went on to Cleveland and I ended up insane
    I bought a borrowed suit and learned to dance . .

    EliMcQ — April 26, 2011 @ 4:27 am

  • Wow – what a treasure these are! Thanks for such a great musical start to the week =)

    I especially love the seductive turns of melody that snake through untitled #2. Yum!

    JL — April 26, 2011 @ 9:58 am

  • The more I listen to “Dirty Rain” the more I think it is the best song Ryan Adams has ever done. Which pretty much means it’s the best song ever. But then again, I’ve thought this about so many of his songs, most notably, which ever one is currently playing.

    Scott S — April 26, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  • I wish I had known; I would have dropped everything to go to that show. Darn surprises.

    I am loving that rendition of Sweet Carolina. Oh Ry Ry, I missed ya.

    zh. — April 26, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

  • Heather – you totally need to listen to this (as does everyone else): The National and Win Butler of Arcade Fire signing Start a War – AMAZING!


    Brian — April 27, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  • Thank you for posting :)

    Dusty Cobb — May 7, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  • That must have been an exciting experience. I reckon all musicians should at least experience a performance where they arrive unannounced.

    SherwinJTB — June 28, 2011 @ 9:22 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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