Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ryan Adams: "If I Am A Stranger" (Original 7" Version)

This tune made it's best known appearance on Ryan Adams' record Cold Roses, but its first appearance was on a significantly rarer, and much more raw seven inch, released on Adams' own Pax American records. As far as we can tell, the label only ever released three seven inches, all in 2004, and all comprised of Adams' home demos.

The Now That You're Gone release (above), was perhaps the most notable, as it gave an almost-preview as to what was coming up from Adams. It contained two tracks from Cold Roses, but presented in a vastly different form. That record would launch him in a completely new direction of much more choreographed and ornate arrangements that continues to this day.

Perhaps that's why this version of "If I Am A Stranger" is just so interesting: It hints at the potential for Adams to have taken a different direction. The sound is one far closer to his trademark "sad bastard" (his words) music, and also a step closer to the Heartbreaker II that fans are forever lusting after.

Is it better than the album version? It's hard to say. What is true without question is that the juxtaposition of the two serves to illustrate not only Adams' versatility as a musician, but also just how much production values can shape and define a song. If only all musicians were so forthcoming with the many stages of songwriting, the world would be a much more interesting place.

mp3: Ryan Adams - If I Am A Stranger (7" Version)


Hanan said...

Ryan Adams, ever a source of obscure demos and live material. love that man beyond reason.