Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More Ryan Adams

If you were thinking about buying Ashes and Fire this week is a good time to do it. Amazon has the album as the £3.99 album of the week. Click on the above link to download. In more news Lucky Now has a new music video:


 North American tour dates: 10/10 Los Angeles, CA - Masonic Temple 10/11 San Diego, CA - Balboa Theater 10/13 Big Sur, CA - Henry Miller Library 10/14 San Francisco, CA - Herbst Theater 10/15 Napa, CA - Uptown Theater 10/17 Santa Cruz, CA - The Rio 10/18 Sacramento, CA - Crest Theatre 10/20 Eugene, OR - The Shedd 10/21 Seattle, WA - Benaroya 12/2 Philadelphia, PA - Academy of Music 12/4 Baltimore, MD - Lyric Opera House 12/6 New York, NY - Carnegie Hall 12/8 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre 12/10 Toronto, ON - Winter Garden Theatre 12/11 Chicago, IL - Cadillac Palace 12/13 Minneapolis, MN - State Theatre


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire review

 Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

 Pax Am

October 2011

Ryan Adams' new record, Ashes and Fire is out Monday and I think you should listen to it.

I know, he has tested his fans a lot in the past. His emphasis has seemed to be more on quantity than quality since his first two epic releases - Heartbreaker and Gold.

2010's III/IV only confirmed that suspicion. iTunes tells me that I have only listened to two of the songs on that record twice, and I'm a big RA fan! I was concerned we had lost the old Ryan.

Early reports are that Ashes & Fire is a real return to form.

As you probably know a while back Ryan declared that the Cardinals had broken up and that he had quit music for good. Thankfully he hasn't. What he has done is sobered up, cleaned up and found his head.

This record comes from a much more peaceful place without a lot of the negativity that could be felt on "29" and "Love is Hell. That's not to say that this is a chipper album, but rather that it is mature. The big guitars have gone and the acoustic guitar is back. Almost all the songs feature Ryan and his guitar with some sparse piano and occasional accompaniments. It allows his voice and songwriting to shine through. Producer Glynn Johns has got the best out of him.

The single, "Lucky Now", is also the stand out track on the album. On it Ryan adresses the death of his former Cardinals band mate and also looks back over the years and how he is changed when he sings:

 "I don't remember were we wild and young?/
 All that has faded in the memory/
I feel like somebody I dont know/
Are we really who we used to be?/
Am I really who I was?"

It is an exceptional track, but unfortunately the whole album does not live up to that standard. It is good, but not as good as he has made in the past.

The album opens with a great number, "Dirty Rain" which sounds like it could, with a bit of fiddle, be a Whiskeytown track. Equally it could have come from Jacksonville City Nights. Norah Jones again makes an appearance which leads to more comparisons with City Nights. Next up is the title track which steps it up a gear before the second best song - "Come Home". Sung over a fingerpicked guitar it features a beautifully simple refrain sung through Ryan's hushed delicate vocals as a little pedal steel fills out the sound.

Elsewhere "Chains of Love" is great and Rocks is solid but a lot of the other songs blur into each other without necessarily grabbing your attention. It is not as good as Heatrbreaker or Gold but it certainly shows Ryan Adams heading in the right direction. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it and will continue to. I hope it represents a return to Ryan's strengths and perhaps the next record will rise above his already considerable achievements.

Rating: 7/10

Bushmills - Since Way Back

Bushmills Irish Whiskey is close to my heart, as just down the road from where I grew up. It is one of the oldest names in spirits with more than 400 years of distilling tradition behind it. A while ago it collaborated with musicians in a program known as "Since Way Back". Well Since Way Back is back. This time Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, actor Elijah Wood, and the return of electrofunk duo Chromeo to its family. "Since Way Back" was initially developed in early 2009 to celebrate the close friendships and camaraderie shared between lifelong friends in New York. This expansion also signals the launch of "Since Way Back" in Los Angeles with new friends Brendan and Emmett Malloy, music, television and film directors who have directed videos for bands including Oasis, The White Stripes, and Blink 182; and well-known graphic design artist Geoff McFetridge of the Beautiful Losers exhibition. In Boston, founders of local authoritative sneaker shop Bodega have joined the group; and Brooklyn rapper, songwriter and producer Theophilus London and Michael Williams - founder of renowned style blog A Continuous Lean will return to represent New York. "Since Way Back" is inspired by the heritage of Bushmills Irish Whiskey and its longstanding tradition of recognizing enduring kinship. The initiative celebrates the lives and brotherly relationships of artists and influencers across the world, and collaborates with each to produce creative, inspired content that reflects each of his passions. Upcoming content will include custom pieces of music and art developed by each group, and will serve as an additional venue to remind others to please drink responsibly. Check out www.facebook.com/BushmillsUSA for additional announcements and collaborations throughout the year.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Stream Ashes & Fire - the new Ryan Adams album

So I have been listening to Ryan Adams' new album for a few days and I have to say I really like it. It has been compared to Heartbreaker in that it is mostly acoustic but really it sounds like a lot of the Jacksonville City Nights material coupled with some Love as Hell material, but not as dark. You can listen to it for yourself:


Due out Oct. 11 on PAX-AM/Capitol, Ashes & Fire has already received much praise. Those who listen to Ashes & Fire from the official site (ashesandfire.com) will also have access to stream four additional songs (not on the album), including "Come Home" ( In-Studio Acoustic Version), "Rocks" (In-Studio Acoustic Version), "Wasted Years" (In-Studio Acoustic Iron Maiden cover NEW recording) and "Down in a Hole" (Alice in Chains/previous 7" b-side).

Ashes & Fire on iTunes

*Limited Edition deluxe packages are available directly from Pax-Am records here

Watch a Live In-Studio Performance of Title Track "Ashes & Fire"