Strangers Almanac

Strangers Almanac

by Whiskeytown
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

If the alternative-country crowd needs a superstar to call its very own, Whiskeytown front man Ryan Adams might be the right man for the job. There's a dissolute beautiful-loser ethos about him and a volatility -- he fires band members more often than he changes his shirt -- that won't let you look away once you've caught sight of him. Above all, though, Adams is a

Overview

If the alternative-country crowd needs a superstar to call its very own, Whiskeytown front man Ryan Adams might be the right man for the job. There's a dissolute beautiful-loser ethos about him and a volatility -- he fires band members more often than he changes his shirt -- that won't let you look away once you've caught sight of him. Above all, though, Adams is a brilliant singer-songwriter whose work on Stranger's Almanac plumbs the depths of small-town ennui ("Inn Town"), broken relationships ("Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight"), and restlessness ("Dancing with the Women at the Bar"). Best of all is "Houses on the Hill," a wrenching story reconstructed from a box of letters found in an attic. Think of Paul Westerberg at his most observant, backed by fiddles, steel guitar, and a rhythm section raised on Exile on Main Street, and you've got a handle on Whiskeytown.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
1997's Strangers Almanac was Whiskeytown's major-label debut and the album that first introduced Ryan Adams to a wide audience, but at the same time it marked the beginning of the end for the group. When Whiskeytown went into the studio to record Strangers Almanac, the band had undergone the first of what would become a long line of personnel shakeups, and in addition to Adams, the only proper members of the group on hand for the sessions were violinist and vocalist Caitlin Cary and guitarist Phil Wandscher; session musicians filled out the lineup, while the new rhythm section, Jeff Rice (bass) and Steve Terry (drums), was hired only two weeks before recording began. Despite its chaotic creation, Strangers Almanac sounds stronger and more cohesive than its ragged but forceful indie predecessor, Faithless Street, and there's a deeper resonance in Adams' tales of wasted nights and wasted lives, such as "Inn Town," "Losering," and "Dancing with the Women at the Bar." Strangers Almanac doesn't rock as hard as Whiskeytown's earlier material, but when the guitars kick into high gear on "Yesterday's News" and "Waiting to Derail," it reveals just how good a match Adams and Wandscher were, and "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight" and "16 Days" are as strong and moving as their country gestures got. However, though Strangers Almanac starts strong, most of the best material is used up by the two-thirds mark, and editing one or two tunes from the final innings would have done this album a world of good. Regardless of its faults, Strangers Almanac captures Whiskeytown when they still had some business calling themselves a band rather than just Ryan Adams' backing musicians, and the glorious world-weariness of its best moments makes it a far more satisfying listen than most of what would follow once Adams struck out on his own.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/29/1997
Label:
Outpost Records
UPC:
0607703000520
catalogNumber:
30005
Rank:
58249

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Whiskeytown   Primary Artist
Curt Bisquera   Percussion
Alejandro Escovedo   Vocals
Jim Goodwin   Alto Saxophone
Greg Leisz   Mandolin,Pedal Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Dan Navarro   Trumpet
Jim Scott   Percussion
Richard Stuverud   Drums
Jeremy Wilson   Guitar,Vocals
Ric Johnston   Bass,Vocals
John Ginty   Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Wurlitzer
Patrick Gundran   Guitar
Phil Wandscher   Organ,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Steven Terry   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Ryan Adams   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Percussion,Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Jeff Rice   Bass Guitar
Caitlin Cary   Violin,Vocals
Crecencio Gonzalez   Trombone

Technical Credits

Jim Scott   Producer,Engineer
Pilot   Producer
Chris Bilheimer   Art Direction
Barrett Jones   Producer
Phil Wandscher   Composer
Ryan Adams   Composer
Caitlin Cary   Composer
Pocket Horns   Contributor
David Ryan Adams   Composer

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >