IHLN in Santa Cruz -- Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell Oct. 17, 2011
So Hodon is apparently in town for the week -- got a message from him last night that he was landing by surfboard in -- where else -- Santa Cruz, to start off the week with the Jason Isbell/Ryan Adams show. He went with one of his Alabama soulmates and opener Isbell's second song was a paean to Alabama and a beautiful one it was; the whole set was just great. Good pairing for a change, and Isbell's complex songs and engaging lyrics made Hodon smile.
Ryan Adams is "back", as some of you may know, off his medical and marital leave with a new record and a solo tour that's been going on for some time. According to friends, the shows have been great but also pretty much the same from set to set, about 2 hours. Until last night.
Hodon has been a fan since way back, and so he was excited. And it was a stellar set, but punctuated by long pauses between songs while RA leafed through a highly (intentionally?) disorganized notebook and loose pages of (presumably) songs, trying to figure out what to play. He started more or less on time, and finished three hours later (!). The songs are stellar. But if you are listening to the tape, you might want to click ahead to the next track when you just hear silence, cuz it's just Ryan looking around for songs, or a capo, or talking to his sound guy, or himself. A fair amount of the usual engaging with nice and stupid people in the crowd too.
I once asked Hodon what his favorite shows he ever saw were, and he told me that was a hard question given how many he has seen, but that in the top ten would always be Ryan at the Fillmore in San Francisco, November 14, 2001. Just about ten years ago, really at his peak, before the fall. So I have added that into today's missive to you....