Flashbackify: Rock N Roll With Ryan, Gisli, And Matt Pryor’s Other Band

ryan adams

I wait for New Music Tuesday everyday to unwrap the musical gifts of the week, but once in a while I get sucked back into a moment of yesteryear. Such is the case on this dreary rainy Monday night when my mind has wandered to corners I haven’t recently explored.

Bob Marley said “one good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain”. False.

Sometimes you have to soak in a song until you are able to get up and breathe air that’s absent of piano. Sometimes it hits so hard you live in certain lyrics for days.

Music is an extension of the feelings you already have and the perfect song can often say all that you can’t.

A couple that have crossed my mind and my ears today…

Ryan Adams – Rock N’ Roll (2003)

For a guy that’s perfected the art of being arrogantly vulnerable, Adams is at his best in this sparse haunting landscape complete with a voicemail that he saved longer than his friends would probably be cool with.


Gisli – Can You Make Me Right (2004)

You won’t hear the Icelandic musician Gisli come up in many conversations, but in 2004 he put out a stellar album called “How About This?“.

He plays multiple instruments and crosses multiple genres, from hip hop to soul-pouring acoustic songs. But it’s the lyric “I’m like The Beatles without Ringo, I’m like Heat without Robert Deniro” that first caught my ear and has made me a fan ever since.


The New Amsterdams – Every Double Life (2000)

It’s tough to imagine that I’ve loved this song for over a decade but it’s true.

Marc Powell first turned me on to The Get Up Kids in a Graphics Class at Audubon High School. For that I will be forever grateful. If you see him thank him for me, and ask how his sister Katie Powell is doing. The first girl I remember being jaw-droppingly beautiful…but I digress.

At that point I had never experienced anything like them, and it opened up my world in a way I can never completely express. I was freed from the shackles of Gin Blossoms and Smash Mouth into something more genuine and real.

Back in those days (cue the Charlie Chaplin music), we had to buy our CD’s…AND WE LIKED IT! So when I had all the Get Up Kids in my collection I could find, it was like a three-day weekend to find out about The New Amsterdams. A side project of lead singer Matt Pryor.

Wait..they are The Get Up Kids, just slightly different and more emoting? IN! This is the first song I ever heard from them and it still makes me smile in an emo-y kind of way.

I encourage you as you start this week to go back to something that made you smile when you were younger. Even if it’s “The Sign” by Ace Of Base or “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey, let it wash over you and enjoy where you’ve been and where you’re going.

PS – I LOVE both of those songs. Life IS demanding without UNDERSTANDING.

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