You are also in the supergroup Hard Working Americans. How did you get involved with those guys?

That also came about through the CRB. Todd Snider and Dave Schools are fans of the CRB and had been talking about getting a band of their own together for a while. They remembered my name and it came about during the year when The Black Crowes where back on the road, so I had some free time. We went up to TRI [Bob Weir’s studio] and made the record in a pretty short, but inspiring, period of time. I thought we would make a record and that would be the end of it. So, that turned into a bunch of shows and then the record got a lot of attention, which caught me by surprise. I’m very proud to be a part of that band.

Do you have to switch gears between The CRB and HWA…is there a big transition?

Stylistically, it’s really not that different. There are a few adjustments to make, but it’s not that huge. It’s all the same family of songs, the same family of musicians and we’re all moving in the same direction. So it’s not that hard. I can bring my same guitar and amps, and wear the same clothes; I don’t have to put on a different suit.

Tell me about your Scott Walker guitar?

After the first couple of years with the CRB, I’d become frustrated with the gear that I was using. I was playing an SG, which is a great guitar, but it just wasn’t standing up to these three hour-long extended shows, which I’d never really done before. I’ve never played as much guitar in my life as I do with the CRB, so adjustments had to be made. I asked Scott Walker to make me this guitar after I was lucky enough to play Jerry’s Wolf guitar for an entire show. Scott built me a guitar that is better suited for longer shows. It has a larger sonic palette and has raised my game in a huge way. It’s an incredible instrument.

Last year I went through a big change in all of my equipment and that came from the lessons I learned from playing with the CRB. I’ve done so much in such a short period of time, that I realized my equipment was not at the level it needed to be. Playing over 300 shows, plus all the recording sessions and sitting in with great musicians like Bob Weir, Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring and Phil Lesh, I realized I needed to change everything from the guitars to the amps to the pedals to the cables. Kidd Candelario makes some of the highest quality cables in the world. He makes my cables now—thanks to Betty (Cantor-Jackson) turning me onto him. The Scott Walker connection came about by Barry Sless. Barry plays Scott’s guitars and his tone caught my ear and I thought that’s the direction I need to go in. Barry was kind enough to have me to his house and let me play 5 or 6 of his Walker guitars. We talked about which features would be useful to me, and which ones wouldn’t, and I went from there.

It is just one Scott Walker?

Yes, only one, but I’m saving up for another. And they take 9 to 10 months to make, so I should have put my order in for the second guitar as soon as I got the first one. When I got that guitar in my hands for the first time, it just blew my mind. It far exceeded my expectations. He’s a master luthier who put’s so much time and attention into each detail of those guitars. And he’s in Santa Cruz, CA, which is a pretty cool place to set-up shop.

Your last solo album, Sweeten the Distance, has been out for a while. Any future plans on putting out another solo album?

Sweeten the Distance is record I’m really proud of. At the moment, I’m totally committed to the other bands I’m in and I enjoy being part of something bigger. That being said, the solo thing is my foundation as a musician and as a writer. That’s where I made my bones for many years. It will always be a part of me and it will always be there. I do love to sing and every once in a while I have the urge to break out in songs of my own. I have a voice that I need to use and I can’t deny that, so I do think it will happen at some point. I certainly have songs, which I write all the time. But they will be there when I need them, whenever that is.

You’re also a photographer. Several years ago you came out with the photography book Ryan Adams & The Cardinals: A View of Other Windows. You also have amazing photos on your website and on your blog. Would you ever consider putting out another book, or are you currently working towards something?

Doing another book of photography is definitely a dream of mine. I’m amazed the first book even happened. It was one of the most fortunate events that has happened in my life, and to this day it’s still hard for me to believe that it worked out. I mean, come on, I’m a guitar player with a camera. I’d only been shooting for four or five years at that point and I don’t know anything about photography, I just have a good eye. When that book happened, it was not lost on me how fortunate and unlikely of an event it was. I was in the right place at the right time with a batch of good pictures of someone of interest—a great musician with a large audience. That book was limited to Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, which is cool, but as you’ve seen through my website and my blog, I take pictures of lots of other subjects, musicians, street things and random weird stuff. I would love to make another book someday because taking pictures is as important as music is for me. It’s a part of the creative life that I get to live, and it’s sort of one long intertwining thing… songs, pictures, take a picture of your song, write a song about your pictures, put in all in a book or put it all in a record…. just make it happen.

I’ve got a case of the Brotherhood Steam Ale in my fridge. How did you guys get involved with Anchor Brewing Company?

That was all the work of our tour manager, Brian Sarkin. Brian has been with the CRB from the beginning and has been with Chris for many years. He’s made everything happen for us since day one and works tirelessly, so that we can make it look easy. Brian had the idea and knows some folks over at Anchor. He collaborated with them and worked on the taste so it would be something you’d want a lot of at our shows. I wasn’t a part of it, but I’m incredibly impressed by how well it’s gone and how people are receiving it. I tip my hat to Brian on that one, it was a great idea!

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