Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ryan Adams - "Ashes & Fire"

Ryan Adams returned last week with his new album Ashes & Fire, released on Adam’s own imprint PAX-AM through Capitol Records. The gorgeous album was produced by the legendary producer Glyn Johns (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who) and takes on a more mature Adult Alternative-leaning sound while also focusing the spotlight on his soulful vocals and somber lyrics. Also, gone are the Cardinals, his long-time backing band and in their place, Norah Jones provides her jazz-folk piano prowess and vocal harmonies, and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers adds his piano and Hammond organ assistance, along with Ryan’s wife Mandy Moore and Chris Stills, who provide background vocals to the excellent guest-heavy album.

The album opens with the slow-building “Dirty Rain” and its classic country vocal delivery and acoustic guitar strumming alongside Norah’s jazzy piano. The title track, “Ashes & Fire” is a stand out with honky-tonkin’ piano and a twangy electric guitar solo. The aching long-distance love song, “Come Home” features hushed vocal harmonies from the trio of Norah, Moore, and Stephen Still’s son Chris. “Do I Wait” provides the album’s loudest moment with a psychedelic, organ-filled 70’s style freakout to end the song. And the upbeat “Chains Of Love” follows with a moving string arrangement and gospel-inspired vocals. “Invisible Riverside” stands out with a rich, earthy guitar tone and a bluesy vocal melody, clearly indebted to Chris Still’s underrated solo work. Another standout is the stirring, slow-waltzing beauty of “Kindness” and its 70’s-esque melodies and swells of vintage organ.

Ryan Adams clearly stepped up his game to match up with his excellent guests and Ashes & Fire is his most cohesive and best album since his breakout Heartbreaker.

For more info click here: http://paxamrecords.com/


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