Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

Ryan Adams - 2008 in London, Ontario
Ryan Adams could sing the Chinese phone book and I would still melt into a puddle of mush.  My opinion may be slightly biased, but when I had a chance to listen to his new album Ashes & Fire (to be released October 11, 2011), I heard a Ryan that was the same Ryan that I have always loved to listen to, with a hint of a mature, and wiser artist.

I had the chance to see Ryan Adams & The Cardinals live on December 15, 2008.  Even though they were the opening act, it was still the most memorable concert I have ever attended.  It was also the only concert I ever attended by myself.  It was fascinating how having absolutely no distractions of a guest with me allowed me to focus directly on the band.  I loved it.

Just as I was creeping up on super-fan status, Mr. Adams and the Cardinals quit music due to hearing loss from Ménière's Disease.  Unfortunately, shortly after the band's hiatus, Chris "Spacewolf" Feinstein was found dead in his home. 

Ryan spent the time writing (really good!) books and did some work in heavy metal and hard rock music under a different moniker. He also married his girlfriend Mandy Moore and did a lot of hiking and became a happier person.

All of this is easy to pick up in this new album Ashes & Fire. If you are looking for heavier music, this album probably isn't for you.  This is the kind of album I put on during a thunderstorm on my porch and fits quite nicely with my love for Norah Jones and Fleetwood Mac. As an added bonus, you also get backing vocals by Norah Jones ('Come Home', 'Save Me' and 'Kindness') as well as Ryan's wife Mandy Moore.

This album is not all cotton candy and puppy dogs though, you can still sense Mr. Adams' edge that us fans have been waiting to hear again since 2008.

You can listen to Ashes & Fire in its entirety here: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/25/140640429/first-listen-ryan-adams-ashes-and-fire

You can purchase Ashes & Fire on October 11, 2011:

I give this album a big giant cupcake full of wonderful things that make me happy (I hate rating things!) - and no, I wasn't paid to do this review. I just really really like this album and it makes me smile and hopefully it will make you smile too!

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