John and Adams Meet at Harmonic 'Crossroads'
BY ROBERT HILBURN
TIMES STAFF WRITER
May 25, 2020
It's only natural to assume that Ryan
Adams will benefit more, career-wise, from his teaming with Elton John on
Sunday's 8 p.m. edition of "CMT Crossroads," the imaginative Country Music
Television series that pairs country and pop-rock artists in an informal musical
Adams, a young singer-songwriter from North Carolina who led the country-leaning
Whiskeytown band before embarking on a more rock-oriented solo career in recent
years, may be a media darling, but he's still largely unknown to the general pop
Anyone who hears John frequently laud Adams' music (and compare the writer to
Bob Dylan and Neil Young) probably will be moved to think about buying an Adams
album (last year's "Gold" is the one to get). But John, too, should benefit,
because contemporary pop-rock fans, who may tune in chiefly to see Adams, may
well come away with a new understanding of John's place in the pop-rock
Because John's most compelling work with co-writer Bernie Taupin was in the '70s
and '80s, it's easy for young pop fans to think of him more as a crafty
hit-maker than as a major pop figure whose body of work--as a singer, songwriter
and pianist--ranks as one of the most distinguished of modern pop.
As they go through each other's songs (including John's "Daniel" and Adams'
"Firecracker") and country-rock standards (including the Jerry Lee Lewis hit
"Great Balls of Fire"), the pair live up to the lofty goals of the "Crossroads"
series. It's a rare chance for artists to perform in an atmosphere that is as
joyful as it is illuminating.