Friday, January 16, 2009

Ryan Adams takes a break

My man Ryan Adams announced the other day that he's taking a haitus of sorts after this current tour with his band, the Cardinals. As a lot of you know, Ryan Adams is where it's at for me musically. So I was a bit saddened by the news, but deeply respect the guy's decision because he's got some physical ailments he's dealing with and probably needs an emotional rest as well. The trouble is, I hang out over at the Ryan Adams Archive (it's really my second home) and a lot of people there seemed to be much more broken up about Ryan's announcement than I was. This made me feel kind of strange. And prompted me to post this there:

Is there something wrong with me?

First off, let me say that we should all be grateful for the music that Ryan and the Cards have given us. It will live forever, no matter what becomes of Ryan's career or the Cardinals' career or the collective Ryan & the Cardinals' career. But here's the deal...

As I've read all the posts here over the last couple/few days, I've felt kind of strange. I feel like there are a whole lot of people here who are way more affected by Ryan's announcement than I've been. And I've considered myself a huge Ryan Adams fan ever since I first saw Whiskeytown live at SXSW way back when. I mean, ask anyone I know and they'll tell you that I'm pretty much obsessed with Ryan and his music. So I'm wondering... Why hasn't his announcement affected me like it's obviously affected so many others? Is there something wrong with me???

I understand why people are disappointed. I'm disappointed, too. I love Ryan Adams and I love the Cardinals. And seeing a great thing come to an end is always hard, especially when it's in its prime. But the simple reality is that Ryan Adams is a human being and is entitled to make decisions in the best interest of himself, just like the rest of us do for ourselves in our everyday lives. Granted, this decision has a direct impact on something we love, but in the grand scheme of things, is it really that big of a deal? Obviously, the health and well being of Ryan Adams--whether it's physical, emotional, or some combination thereof--is the most important thing, isn't it? The fact that we may suffer a bit because of Ryan's decision is really secondary.

Maybe I'm over simplifying the whole thing. Maybe I'm just old. Maybe I've just been desensitized by other things going on in my life. I dunno. But as I read all the posts here by people who are just totally broken up about this, I almost feel like I don't belong here. Yeah, I'm bummed about Ryan's announcement. But it's just another thing that I can't control, so I'm gonna let it go. Sure, I'll listen to Ryan and the Cards as much as I ever have. Probably more. But I actually feel a sort of peace knowing that Ryan's making a decision he thinks is best for himself. Isn't that what we would want for anyone who means a lot to us?

I don't like sports analogies, but I'll throw this one out there. I live in Detroit and a few years ago our football team, the Detroit Lions, had one of the best running backs ever to play the game: Barry Sanders. And one day, when he was at the top of his game, he quit. He just felt like it was time to move on. So he did. Were people angry? Yes. Were people disappointed? Yes. Did people think he was making a mistake? Yes. Did people feel cheated? Yes. But you know what? The dude made the decision that was right for him. And he left us with a ton of great memories that'll live forever.

That's all I got. I love Ryan Adams & the Cardinals and I always will.

(How's that sappy saying go? "If you love something, set it free...")

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