Anyone who was paying attention to cover songs a decade ago will remember The A.V. Club’s “Undercover” series. In the vein of the BBC Live Lounge and Triple J Like a Version, the entertainment web site would bring bands into their Chicago offices to cover a song. The concept, though, was the site started with a masters list of songs and the band had to pick one. The later they came in, the fewer song choices remained. It went on for years and the covers were ubiquitous (we must have posted a million of ’em). Practically every indie band of the era stopped by (many several times), and they often delivered something great.
Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.
Remarkably prolific by today’s standards, Ryan Adams has released 12 albums (some solo and some with The Cardinals) since the breakup of his seminal alt-country band Whiskeytown in 2000. Not like your typical modern artist with three or four year gaps between releases. He’s also made friends in high places, including Elton John, Willie Nelson and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead. Not just a hard-working studio musician, Adams also tours extensively, with an upcoming European tour marking his return to the stage after his 2009 ‘retirement.’
Never one to hide his influences, Adams regularly includes cover songs as part of his live show. We’ve compiled a selection of his covers for our latest Live Collection. Remember this is no one-album artist. Given his back catalog, Adams chooses covers that, for the most part, really mean something to him. Country and ‘70s rock figure heavily in his choices: five songs associated with Gram Parsons, three classics by The Rolling Stones, and the obligatory Neil Young nod.