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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Stratosphere Sound Sessions

Following the sessions for Love is Hell in February of 2003; and prior to the sessions for Rock n' Roll that summer, supposedly Ryan recorded another album at Stratosphere Sound Studios in New York City. After Lost Highway Records initially rejected Love is Hell, Ryan moved back to New York City for a while to regroup. During this period, he managed to write a ton of new songs that he had initially planned to record in Jacksonville, NC.

"After a few months, I started playing again with friends in the East Village. I'd written a folk record, like 25 songs, in my depression, all on acoustic guitar. We started recording them in a basement studio, and they came out like Roy Orbison or something. We were going into this little studio and getting bombed, and we recorded it really raw and edgy." - Ryan Adams (from Uncut Magazine - January 2004)

Between April and July of 2003, he posted several times about going into the studio to work with Ethan Johns, Norah Jones, Gillian Welch, and David Rawlings. The plan was to make a back to basics record on an 8-track recorder, with simple accompaniment of acoustic guitar, banjo, and piano. It is unknown what became of these sessions. At one point, Ryan mentioned that he was planning to release an EP of The Stratosphere Sessions alongside the two Love is Hell EPs that were put out at the end of the 2003. Unfortunately this never happened, however since then Ryan has occasionally mentioned releasing them as part of a box set of unreleased songs. Below are a few quotes and posts by Ryan during this period:

(Post from 4/14/03)
im recording at home. im gonna finish in jacksonville where im from in an old house. im using an old 4track until i can get a half-inch 8 track or whatever is more portable. its just piano and vocals, or guitar and vocals, and im only overdubbing one or two instruments like a banjo or a weepy little guitar line. its sounding very cool so far. kinda like the trinity sessions or howling wolf bootlegs and alittle joni mitchell aand a shitload of early dylan influences in the songwriting. they just started coming and so im going there.

(Post from 5/30/03)
"........ethans coming to new york and i have only a linite time if norah jones, gillian welch and david will be in the band with me and ethan. merely days. i love you guys for hanging in there with me........"

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