Sunday, August 26th, 2012
"Black Sheets Of Rain"
Ryan Adams covers Bob Mould
iTunesI never drew the parallels until just now, really, but the career arcs of Bob Mould and Ryan Adams really do have a lot in common, not least of all that they’ve not really been arcs so much as strange and interesting twisty patterns with all kinds of full stops and hard lefts.
Both started out fronting influential and relatively successful bands that eventually imploded (Hüsker Dü and Whiskeytown), embarked on solo careers that would be interrupted with runs with new bands, (Sugar and The Cardinals), puzzling and questionable detours in creative direction )Modulate and Orion), and even very public retirements from music (Mould in 1999 following The Last Dog & Pony Show, Adams in 2009 post-Cardinology). And both have made impressive comebacks in the past year by playing to their strengths – Adams with the relatively low-key Ashes & Fire last Fall and Mould by using the Sugar reissues as an excuse to return to loud, hooky rock music on his next album The Silver Age, out September 4.
And so I really shouldn’t have been surprised Adams – a man with a penchant for unexpected covers – made the title track from Mould’s second solo album Black Sheets Of Rain a staple of his live sets recently, including for an iTunes session this Spring. As Adams is in acoustic mode, there’s no attempt to reproduce the nearly eight minutes of soul- and guitar-shredding catharsis of the original instead transforming it into a smouldering, ruminative number. It works, too.