Ryan Adams recently announced he’d have three new albums out this year, but that number looks to be rapidly shrinking. The first of his planned 2019 releases, “Big Colors,” which was to have come out April 19, has been “put on hold,” according to sources close to the situation.
Retailers began reporting Thursday night that they’ve been notified the album has been yanked from the schedule by Universal Music Group. Adams has his own label, Pax-Am, which has a distribution deal with UMG’s Blue Note (whose president, Don Was, co-produced “Big Colors”). Representatives for those labels could not be reached for comment Thursday night. Adams’ Pax-Am label has deleted its own pages devoted to pre-orders for the CD and LP.
On top of the album being put in limbo, three companies that manufacture gear for musicians have publicly severed ties with Adams and announced that the products bearing his name will be taken off the market or out of development.
An amplifier company, Benson, was among those disassociating themselves from the artist. “We are saddened and surprised by the recent allegations against Mr. Ryan Adams as documented in the New York Times,” Christopher Benson said in a statement. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Mr. Adams at this moment, and will no longer move forward with the development of the Ryan Adams signature model. We have no further comment at this time.”
Adams’ signature Benson amp was announced at the NAMM convention in February 2018, but it’s not clear how far along in development it was. As of September, Christopher Benson was signaling that the amp had hit a snag, saying that “we’re still kind of working it out with him and his management.”
Two other Adams signature products were already available in stores but are being withdrawn from further sales, according to statements from the companies that worked with Adams on them.
“In light of recent news and allegations, we have discontinued the Defcon4 and are not selling any more direct or wholesale,” wrote Colt Westbrook, president of Walrus Audio, on Instagram, referring to an Adams-branded pedal. “This is our reactive plan, as this is fresh news for us in the last 24 hours. We will come forward with a proactive plan to help bring power to people combatting abuse as we figure out the best way to do so.”
Josh Scott, the president of JHS Pedals, which had also developed a product with Adams, issued a similar statement. “Because of my deep concern over this situation, I am ceasing all collaboration with Ryan and have discontinued the VCR Ryan Adams Signature Pedal. We have a remaining stock of VCR pedals and are making future plans to fully rebrand and sell this inventory with a portion of the sale going towards the fight against sexual abuse and misconduct.”
The New York Times’ story appeared online Wednesday and was prominently featured in Thursday’s print edition. The newspaper’s reporting spotlighted interviews with multiple women who claimed emotional abuse or severe manipulation by Adams, including a woman who showed reporters sexually explicit texts she said she exchanged with Adams when she was underage, as well as production clients who alleged they were pressured to indulge in sexual as well as professional relationships, and ex-wife Mandy Moore, who maintained that Adams initially mentored her but ultimately stalled her music career.
Adams’ initial response to learning that a Times story was imminent was to tweet a lawsuit threat and say the newspaper was “going down,” though he deleted that and later issued a calmer tweet calling the article “unsettlingly inaccurate,” along with a blanket apology to anyone he hurt, “however unintentionally.”
Adams’ previous album, 2017’s “Prisoner,” debuted at No. 1 on the rock, alternative and Americana charts.