Where’ve I been?
Well, last night, a friend and I attended a taping of Mountain Stage, the public radio show, which is traveling around right now. Ryan Adams and Cowboy Junkies were the featured artists, and I’m a big, big fan of Ryan Adams. I’m also a big fan of Dar Williams, who was originally supposed to be on the show. But she canceled. Hmph. Others on the show: Martin Sexton, Ben Arnold, and Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman of the Hooters.
All the acts were good. Margo Timmins of Cowboy Junkies was particularly good—although I was completely curious about, and distracted by, an ugly vase containing yellow flowers that stage hands brought out for her. She played with the flowers a few seconds…. Are yellow flowers required in her standard contract? Inquiring minds and all that, you know.
Ryan Adams was incredible. He did stuff from a forthcoming album (he’s always got a forthcoming album), and his voice was in fine form. He wasn’t. He’d had a skateboarding accident (um, isn’t he a little old to be skateboarding?), and his right hand was in some kind of cast. Unrelatedly (I suppose), he was dressed like the Unabomber. In combination, the cast and the hood made him look, well, a little nuts.
Anyway, in typical Ryan Adams fashion, he and his piano player—he was performing with the Cardinals—got into an argument about whether the Mountain Stage piano was in tune. The piano player asked, sarcastically, if he wanted him to get his tools out right there and work on the tuning. Adams turned his back on us to lecture the piano player on being thin-skinned. This went on for three or four minutes, and the crowd got restless. Eventually, nothing resolved, Adams turned around and did one more song. It was flawlessly performed; as soon as it was over, though, he stalked off the stage.
If you’re going to see Ryan Adams, you might as well get a good story out of it.