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Ryan Adams: The Confident Iconoclast

Ryan Adams.
Ryan Adams.
Ryan Adams in Studio on World Cafe

One of the most prolific and talked-about singers in music, Ryan Adams has been crafting heartfelt pop-rock songs with a country twang for nearly two decades.

A native of Jacksonville, North Carolina, Adams grew up on classic country singers such as Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash; in his early teens, however, he discovered punk rock and began playing electric guitar. He formed Whiskeytown with the intention of exploring his country and pop influences, and despite constant lineup changes, the band developed a large cult following. This, in turn, helped Adams' first solo album (2000's Heartbreaker) become a critical and commercial success.

Adams' subsequent work — he's released as many as three albums in a calendar year — has continued to establish him as an uncompromising and inventive songwriter. His new disc, Easy Tiger, finds him mixing blistering rock 'n' roll with gentle folk ballads, demonstrating Adams' confidence and firm grasp on his iconoclastic identity.

This segment originally aired on July 4, 2007.

Copyright 2007 XPN

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.