Ryan Adams “Heartbreaker”

ryanRyan Adams self-titled 14th album is further evidence that the South Carolina troubadour has not entirely managed to resolve the erratic quality issues which have plagued the more substance dependent phases of his career. It appears that Adams was on course to release what was “Ashes & Fire Part II” an album produced by Glyn Johns that he scrapped at the eleventh hour as “too sad to release”.¬† Instead Adams has now set forth this self-produced album, which is a mix of rockers, and acoustic songs some from the top drawer, others could see him paying royalties to Tom Petty. Songs like “Stay with Me”” are firmly in the latter category and almost a pastiche. It is the type of workmanlike heartland rock peddled on the lacklustre “Cardinology”. In a similar vein “Feels like fire” is Adams on cruise control with a very standard backdrop, whilst the jury is still out on the heavy reverb chords of “I Just Might”. The single “Gimme Something Good” does improve on repeated listens although by no means a classic. “Kim” alternatively is a belter. A medium paced rocker with a beautifully subtle song structure and excellent lyrics. Equally the two straightforward acoustic numbers remind you about why Ryan Adams is so special. “My Wrecking Ball” is the sort of heartbreaking lament with that is his trademark. Similarly the last song “Lets Go” is wondrous in its acoustic simplicity with a warm vocal by the master. Of the rockier tracks, it is slow burn of “Shadows” that impresses most. When all the elements come together in songs like the Fleetwood Mac sounding “Am I Safe” you sense that Adams might be seeking an audience well beyond the aficionado’s of alt-country.

 

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Author: markamericana

Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (with the exception of our various downtimes, damn you internet)

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