NEW RELEASE OF THE WEEK: RYAN ADAMS ‘ ASHES & FIRE’

BUT THE CD HERE

Historically, Ryan Adams has released, via labels or for download, every idea he’s put down on tape. The dude barely has a filter. Some consider him prolifically gifted, others annoyingly egotistical, but then when he waits a couple of years to drop something new, the anticipation is that much greater. Ashes & Fire is as close as it gets to the brilliance of his first post-Whiskeytown offering, Heartbreaker. It’s a subdued affair, rarely breaking much more than an acoustic guitar– and light-piano sweat, except on the honky-tonk jangle of the title track. But Adams’s songwriting has long been his strong suit, and his lyrics here are more than enough to carry the weight. A song like “Dirty Rain” — with its “Waiting outside while you find your keys/Like bags of trash in the blackening snow/City of neon and toes that freeze” — paints such a vivid scene, it’s like getting lost in a sonic picture book. Even the sappiest lines (“I will shelter you with my love and forgiveness”) are saved by an unwavering earnestness and, given Adams’s melancholy recording history, dispense a positively restrained sense of hope. The Phoenix 

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