For four years, photographer Neal Casal played with Ryan Adams as part of his band the Cardinals, touring the country and cutting three records with the singer-songwriter before the band split in early 2009. In that time, Casal snapped thousands of candid pictures of Adams in the studio, backstage and on the road. Those images have been recently compiled in the gorgeous new book Ryan Adams & The Cardinals: A View of Other Windows (out now from Abrams Image).
The book reveals Adams to be a fascinating, endlessly mutable subject: on one page, he might be smoking cigarettes in the studio with Willie Nelson or snuggling up to his wife Mandy Moore, but on another, Adams is shown backstage sporting glittery, Kiss-style platform boots or comparing Black Flag tattoos with Henry Rollins. “From one day to the next, Ryan has a completely different look and vibe and a whole different energy,” Casal tells Rolling Stone. “It’s amazing — and one of the reasons I love photographing him so much.”
Adams has kept a low profile in recent months — he cited “balance and hearing issues” as a reason for the Cardinals split — but it looks like he’s gearing up to release more music in the coming months through his own Pax Am label. On Friday, Adams unveiled his latest track “Orion,” which he describes as his “most legit metal record.” He’s not kidding: the raging track features Adams squealing, wheezing and howling like the devil’s spawn over a jangly riff that calls to mind Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” Hear it on his RyanAda.Ms Website.