Living in New York, I often spot famous musicians and actors on the streets or in coffee shops. I rarely say anything to them but rather just remain amused in my own mind and move along. One day I decided to stop by my favorite Lower East Side guitar shop (Rivington Guitars) on my lunch break to check out some vintage guitars. As I walked in the very small space, which is crammed with amazing gear, I immediately notice 3 people inside; the shop keeper, some dude on his cell phone, and Ryan Adams. I said to myself, "this could be interesting" and calmly walked in. Before I go any further, Ryan Adams has become one of my favorite songwriters in the last 5 years. If you don't know who he is, you should, and shame on you. I own several of his records and have been heavily influenced by his writing style and his amazing voice. I truly admire his work. With that said, I was a bit nervous to start awkwardly plucking around on a slightly untuned vintage Harmony, but I did anyway. Maybe he'll notice me and offer me a gig! At first I was a bit shaky as I saw he noticed me sitting there playing the vintage hollow body, but then I remembered, he's just another dude in a guitar shop. He's probably just as geek'd out as I am about all this stuff, and boy was I right! As I was playing every fancy riff I could think of, he walked over to me as I'm sitting there on my little stool and said, "I used to have one of those, they're really great guitars!" He continued to tell me a bizarre story about his vintage Harmony hollow body and how either the pickups or the neck are made of some weird non-organic material that greatly expands and contracts under severe humidity and would eventually explode! I was mostly in awe that he was talking to me at all, like we knew each other or something, but also his story was crazy! He then walked away and continued looking at this gorgeous brown 1971 SG with a bigsby tremolo. He had it plugged into a fender twin and was trying out effects pedals. The shop keep was talking about pedals and amps and at several different points they would engage me which I thought was cool. He was just a cool regular guy.
Once he was done trying out his guitar, he said he was ready to buy it and set it on the counter. That's when my mind started racing. "Should I say something to him? Should I give him my business card? He's going to think I'm a weirdo! Just walk away." I walked up to him as he stood at the counter. He was texting someone. I said, "Hey Ryan, I don't mean to bother you but, I just wanted to tell you that I really admire you as an artist and a songwriter. Thank you for all the great music." At that moment he put his phone down and looked at me and said, "Awe man, are you kidding me? You're not bothering me at all!" He then shook my hand, smiled and said thank you. I thought to myself, what a cool guy. As I was walking out, I turned around and said "I can't wait to hear 1989" to which he replied "Awesome! It's out Monday!"
I downloaded 1989 that Monday and I have to say, it's really great. I had no idea Taylor Swift was such a great songwriter. What makes the songs so great though is how Ryan performs them. I listened to her versions of the songs and they just don't hit me the same way. Sorry Taylor :(
Thanks for being cool Ryan! Call me if you ever need a guitarist. I have a feeling you have plenty of those at your disposal though. We are a dime a dozen although, some of us have a little bit more mojo than others.