23 September 2005

ryan adams & the cardinals - "trains" (from the jacksonville city nights lp, available for preorder here.)

in brief : adams returns to roots, his and rock & roll's.

this, i'm predicting, won't be up long.

you see, ryan adams and i have a past. after giving a negative review to "so alive" a couple of years ago, i received email from an individual claiming to be ryan adams. there could be a cottage industry for such a thing, but i got enough out of the email to be fairly certain that it *was* ryan.

well, ryan, if you're reading this, this is a great record!

he's on a bit of a streak this year, our ryan, what w/ a rather great grateful dead-inspired double album already released, and two more on the way. cold roses remains a record that i forget how much i enjoy. the melodies stick in my head, but until i put the record on, i forget many of its subtleties. jacksonville city nights recalls the whiskeytown days, and reminds me of past adams triumphs like "come pick me up" and "jacksonville skyline."

the problem i had w/ "so alive," and its parent album, was that i had no idea who ryan adams was trying to be. perhaps even he didn't know at the time, but his records since suggests that he's onto something. "trains" makes the best of two major strains in his recordings: the beat is shit-hot rockabilly, stomping ass like johnny burnette; the guitar parts and the vocals at times recall early smiths singles. these are fitting clothes for ryan, aged and comfortable, honest hand-me-downs and not expensive vintage--and yet the seams don't show. it's all v. well knitted together, and at least part of the credit must go to the cardinals. "into the future and out of the past," he sings, as the train keeps a rollin'. one hopes he stays such a course.

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