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Whiskeytown

A band with as turbulent an existence as Whiskeytown was bound to implode sooner or later, but by the time they did, they had one of the largest cult followings of any alt-country band. Most accounts traced the source of all the turmoil to bandleader Ryan Adams, a gifted young songwriter whose flashes of brilliance came hand in hand with a volatile temper and an appetite for alcohol. Adams became notorious for his outbursts and erratic performances, and countless disputes with bandmates (some of them on-stage) inevitably led to frequent personnel changes. Yet during their five-year lifespan, Whiskeytown made some undeniably compelling music that only increased the mystique around their enfant terrible leader.

Whiskeytown was formed in 1994 in Raleigh, NC, by singer/guitarist/banjoist Adams, a 20-year-old ex-punk rocker who'd discovered the country-rock of Gram Parsons. The band's other charter members were fiddler/occasional lead singer Caitlin Cary, guitarist Phil Wandscher, bassist Steve Grothmann, and drummer Eric "Skillet" Gilmore. They cut a seven-song EP called Angels for the local indie Mood Food in 1995 and quickly followed it with their full-length debut, Faithless Street, in early 1996. Strongly indebted to Parsons, Uncle Tupelo, and the Replacements, the album earned rave reviews from the alt-country press (No Depression magazine in particular), and a performance at that year's South by Southwest music festival helped net them a deal with the Geffen roots affiliate Outpost. Mood Food issued Rural Free Delivery, a compilation of early recordings, in 1997, the same year Whiskeytown completed their major-label debut, Stranger's Almanac. There was already a new rhythm section, in the person of bassist Jeff Rice and drummer Steven Terry, and Wandscher left not long after the album was released that summer.

The supporting tour for Stranger's Almanac was a stormy one, doing much to earn Adams his bad-boy reputation, and by the time the dust settled, Adams and Cary were the only members standing. They added multi-instrumentalist Mike Daly, who not only played keyboards, guitar, pedal and lap steel, mandolin, mandocello, and dulcimer, but also co-wrote a great deal of material with Adams for the band's next album. Supporting musicians came and went at a furious pace, including onetime fIREHOSE member Ed Crawford and original drummer Gilmore. Somehow, a semistable studio lineup coalesced long enough to complete Pneumonia, the third official Whiskeytown album, in 1999. However, a series of label mergers shelved the record indefinitely, during which time it was heavily bootlegged and acquired a strong underground reputation. With the album in limbo, Whiskeytown gave up the ghost. Adams released his solo debut, Heartbreaker, in 2000, and Cary issued her own solo EP, Waltzie, that year as well. Pneumonia was finally released in 2001 on the Universal roots subsidiary Lost Highway and earned some of the group's strongest reviews yet for its eclectic approach. Adams' second solo album, Gold, appeared in 2002, and Cary released the solo albums While You Weren't Looking and I'm Staying Out in 2002 and 2003, respectively. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

love this album! Whiskey town was a great band, Im from NC and was luck enough to have discovered them while they were still around... RA on his own is just not the same!!
mwalraven1
Their cover of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams is awesome, look for it!
Nice.
daveontherad i o
Some days are just made for Whiskeytown.
One of the greatest bands of all time. The reasons that Faithless Street, Strangers Almanac, and Pneumonia didn't all three win a large number of Grammy's can only be for political reasons
Just wait for the reunion....i t ' s coming. Til then revel in the whiskeytown soaked afterglow of DRA.
jsitz
Best alt-country band ever--tough- l i v i n g sound that RA could not replicate with his later solo works.
Pneumonia pulled me in....now I gotta buy Almanac....
wonderful discovery
whiskeytowns t r a n g e r
love this song. damn.
so authentic and soulfully american, love this band.
denakonneker
missing Rural Free Delivery EP from discography
Whiskeytown holds some of Ryan Adams best works. He is among the best of the best when it comes to songwriting. Love everything and anything dRA!!
Phil Wandscher is of the best guitarist in the business and Its really too bad they couldn't get it together to stick together.. but amazing careers since.
DRA is an addiction.
Let's just say, Whiskeytown is so amazing! Very talented!
As great as Ryan Adams is, his solo work doesn't reach the heights of Whiskeytown.
all of the whiskeytown albums and ryan`s solo record are amazing!
WOW, never knew this band existed...ju s t knew of Ryan Adams as a solo artist...I'm lovin this!
One cant deny his talent and voice..turbu l e n t yes.I`m a lifelong fan of all his work
lwildes5
Had to check out who this was - love Caitlain's back-up vocals and fiddle - reminded me of Alison Kraus & Union Station. Good stuff.
Man!! What a band!! What a sound!! These guys blew up in Raleigh, NC years ago and I was lucky to experience their sound live. Unbelievable presence and a "rope-you-in " quality that can only be coveted after being there!!
Ryan Adams coupled with Caitlin Cary's vocals and fiddle playing made this band magical. I wish they could get back together, but you know what they say about wishing...
cpfischer
I like Ryan Adams in Whiskeytown a lot, but don't like his solo stuff as much. Kinda like how I like Jeff Tweedy a lot more with Uncle Tupelo than I do with Wilco (although that's mainly because Uncle Tupelo was the definitive alt country band, while Wilco has bounced around among several different musical styles).
dds3434
What a great band, just a perfect sound
One of the best bands of all time. Really, no bullshit. F**kin' killer songs. "Sit here alone on the porch sippin' whiskey in grand daddy's chair."
he had the great video where he jumps into a pool and then the pool is empty but he comes out ok. Robbie Fulks & Old 97's really made me appreciate this artist for what he is.
japhyrider54
melodi0, how true. tres chicas is amazing, and ryan has moved on, but I would love to see them back together for a two night stint. she was the only one in whiskeytown who could stomach the attitude. two nights at the cats cradle would suit me just fine, f**k it, let's have dillon fence open for 'em. "similar artist man" hootie is s**t next to these cats, get off the coffee and pot, and pay attention!
dds3434
Awesome sound. Ryan Adams is great on his own but Whiskeytown had a great thing going.
atomixservic e s
YES!!!!! The ultimate fish'in Song!!
very nice.
Would love to see them back together. No better drinking music. Conjurs up things you have tried to forget. Art is alive.
melodi0
Caitlin and Ryan, together there's none better.
WHISKEYTOWN! ! ! ! ! F*CK Yeah! Nothing better to listen to when your driven down the road, with a pack of smokes and cup of coffee... Or at night with bottle of beer upon bottle of beer, thinking about the past.

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