Friday, November 18, 2011

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

I haven't enjoyed a Ryan Adams record since the first one, although judging by the last ten years of press, I seem to number in the minority. Oh, well. I can't be the first guy to rightfully point out that the young man needs himself an editor and the full plate of ex-band members seems to support the young man's mercurial ways. The internet tells me Adams had actually retired from music a couple of years ago, owing to a battle with Meniere's. There you go.

Ashes & Fire is the first Adams record for Capitol. It was recorded at Adams' California studio, with Glyn Johns behind the boards. Norah Jones and his wife Mandy Moore lend backing vocals, as do Neal Casal and Chris Stills, for those of you scoring at home. Marks for Adams will probably eat this up, but I'd say he does little to dispel the notion of being a second-rate Steve Forbert.

Recent press for Ashes & Fire has claimed this is a high-water mark for the now clean and sober Mr. Adams, so I moved it higher up in the review queue than it would have normally been afforded. Those initial reviews may be correct, don't run with that too far. Ashes & Fire may be better than his recent spate of records, but it's still firmly in the Meh category to these ears.


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