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Ryan Adams is EW's Best Balladeer

The ”New York, New York” crooner has three new albums cooking

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Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams: Danny Clinch

AGE 27
MOMENT OF ARRIVAL His country-canvassing ”Gold” — one of the four albums Adams recorded this year — follows the former Whiskeytown frontman on a lovelorn road trip from New York to Nashville to L.A., producing the strikingly of-the-moment single ”New York, New York.”
ON THE BIG APPLE ODE ”I knew I wanted to write a song called that,” the North Carolina native says of the tune that’s slowly become a post-9/11 anthem. ”My own cool, Lou Reed-inspired kind of vibey song about the city, because I was so in love with it. From the minute I saw New York, I was like, ‘I always have to belong here.”’
WHAT FAME HAS BROUGHT A plethora of rock & roll advisers, including newfound pals Elton John and former Black Flag singer Keith Morris.
ON THE PITFALLS OF TALKING TO EW In March, Adams noted in these pages that Meg White — one half of the Detroit duo the White Stripes — ”may be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” Then he ran into her backstage in London: ”She had read that quote, and man, I never stared at my feet any harder in my life.”
WHAT’S NEXT There’s the small matter of releasing those three other albums (an intimate folk record, one that’s ”all Roy Orbison romance,” and a punk-influenced album with his band the Pink Hearts), before going into the studio this summer to record the official follow-up to ”Gold.” ”I wanna make my own personal ‘Sticky Fingers,”’ he says. ”[A] really concise, short, clear rock & roll record that isn’t any longer than 45 minutes.”