27 May 2017

Ryan Adams: cat-loving balladeer

From Saturday Morning, 11:20 am on 27 May 2017
Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams Photo: Rachael Wright

Ryan Adams developed a taste for punk rock and began playing electric guitar in his early teens.

At 15, Adams started writing songs, and a year later he formed a band called the Patty Duke Syndrome, leaving in 1994 to explore country and pop influences with a new band, Whiskeytown, formed with guitarist Phil Wandscher and violinist Caitlin Cary.

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams Photo: Rachael Wright

Whiskeytown's Strangers Almanac became an instant alt-country classic in 1997, but the band had disintegrated by 1999.

Adams made his solo debut in 2000 and has since produced roughly one album a year, and many more songs, and has worked with many of the biggest names in music.

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He suffered a health breakdown in the late 2000s, when it was revealed he suffered from Ménière's disease. In 2015 Adams released 1989, a song-for-song cover of Taylor Swift's album of the same name.

He worked on up to 80 songs for his latest album, Prisoner, influenced by his divorce from his wife Mandy Moore. He launched this album in New Zealand with a show at the Civic Theatre last week.