A prominent music journalist with behind-the-scenes access chronicles the rise of singer-songwriter Ryan Adams from his North Carolina, alt-country roots with Whiskeytown to rock stardom, including stories about the making of the albums Strangers Almanac and Heartbreaker.
Menconi, a veteran music critic based in Raleigh, North Carolina, had a front row seat for alt-country wunderkind Ryan Adams' rise to prominence from an array of local bands, to Whiskeytown, and on to a successful and prolific solo career. Here, Menconi enthusiastically revisits those heady days when the mercurial Adams' performances were either transcendent or tantrum-filled the author was there for most of them, and he packs his book with tales of magical performances and utterly desperate train wrecks. But throughout it all, Adams put on an air of undeniable confidence and made his intentions clear from the get-go old acquaintances describe him as "aggravating the shit" out of friends with new song after new song, declaring that "someday he'd be famous," and basically "doing everything a hundred miles an hour." Admittedly a fan (he even goes so far as to confess he was "something like Whiskeytown's unofficial propagandist" at one point), Menconi's bias colors the story, but this interview- and anecdote-laden expos of the artist's early career will doubtless find a happy home with Adams fans.