Whiskeytown – Introductory Page



Addendum – Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown by David Menconi


When Ryan Adams was a precocious, assholish, drug-taking young lad of 21, he started a damn country band. Now that he’s a precocious, assholish, Mandy Moore-fucking thirty-something year old man, it seems like eons ago, but it really wasn’t. With Uncle Tupelo freshly broken up, Whiskeytown emerged in 1995 as the prodigal heirs apparent to the alt-country throne. They certainly fit the bill – Ryan himself admitted in one of the band’s most beloved songs that they only played all country like “cause punk rock is too hard to sing.” And a punk rock attitude applied to traditional and Southern musical forms is what alt-country is, as established by Uncle Tupelo. And they had songs… boy, did they have songs. Quantity and quality, but especially quantity. That Adams guy probably writes a song more often than he showers. And I don’t mean to imply that he smells… just that he writes a fuckton of songs.

The band featured a revolving door lineup, with its only constant members being Adams and violinist Caitlin Cary. I shall also make note of the existence of Phil Wandscher, songwriting contributor and lead guitarist for the first two albums.  Accordingly, largely due to the fact that Ryan Adams is (was? Maybe all that time with Mandy’s Moore has mellowed him out) a complete douchebag, the band burned up fast and yielded to Adam’s semi-famed/notorious solo career (which I don’t mean to disparage. I’m just incapable of not being a sarcastic ass sometimes). But, although during their brief career they never achieved either the consistency or the peaks of some of their alt-country peers, there are many hardcore alt-country fans who remember them as fondly and miss them as badly as any other now-defunct band that’s ever existed – and they certainly shouldn’t be forgotten.

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