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VISITING ACT: Ryan Adams

Gold Meltdown: Ryan Adams' unpredictable genius

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Ryan Adams knows how to keep himself in the news. He's prolific, releasing an album every year since the demise of his band Whiskeytown and solo debut, Heartbreaker, in 2000.

In addition to the recent release of Easy Tiger with his band, The Cardinals, he's finished a new EP, Follow the Lights, that goes on sale Oct. 23. Around Christmas, he'll put out a box set that includes two previously recorded but unreleased full-lengths, Suicide Handbook and 48 Hours. Sometime between this daunting schedule, he's found time to produce and back Willie Nelson on an album and contribute to projects by Beth Orton, The Wallflowers, Counting Crows, and America.

His epic pace of production ought to be enough to keep Adams in the limelight, but his penchant for inebriation and perfectionist tendencies have built him a reputation as a loose cannon on stage. After shows, he's known for spending hours greeting fans, but during performance, there's no telling. Just two weeks ago in Minneapolis, he complained about stage monitor sound throughout the show, even stopping the band to move speakers and equipment around. After 70 minutes, he "stalked off stage" to a chorus of boos from the audience.

At Merle Haggard's Charleston show in August, a fight broke out 10 rows from stage and the Hag didn't skip a beat. Adams prefers to interact. There's no telling what he'll do or say this Saturday, but the show's almost sold out, indicating folks are willing to take that chance. Maybe all publicity is good. —Stratton Lawrence

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals perform North Charleston Performing Arts Center (5001 Coliseum Dr., (843) 529-5050) on Sat Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $31. Visit www.coliseumpac.com and www.ryan-adams.com for more.

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