My Useless Opinion: Ashes and Fire by Ryan Adams
Reason(s) to listen: You know how Ryan Adams seems to release a new album or EP every three months or so and you enjoy them all, but still find yourself wishing that instead of five good albums he would just release one more great one? Well, this is one of the great ones. It’s easily the best since 2007’s Easy Tiger and comes close to the greatness of Jacksonville City Nights, Gold, and dare I say it, Heartbreaker. There’s no “Halloweenhead” type atrocity on this album to pull you out of it (sorry, Easy Tiger). Every song is good, and many are great. “Dirty Rain” and “Invisible Riverside” go above that. This is the most consistently good and well put together album Mr. Adams has put together in a long time.
Reason(s) to ignore: For some reason, there seems to be a large number of people, many of whom like good music, who continue to ignore this guy. Why is this? We’re talking about one of the greatest singer/songwriters alive. Is it because his name reminds you of the guy who sang “Summer of ’69”? It’s not the same guy. This one’s good. Is it because he’s never had a “hit song?” Does anyone other than Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas have “hit songs” anymore? My Morning Jacket has never had a “hit” but it’s cool to like them (and deservedly so because they are amazing). I just don’t get it. Listen to Ryan Adams people.
Oh, this album? I guess I don’t love “Lucky Now” and “Rocks.”
So what are you saying?: I’m saying that you should find a way to listen to this album immediately (Spotify). If you’ve never given him a chance, now is a great jumping on point. Then go listen to Gold and Heartbreaker and Jacksonville City Nights. You’ll realize you’ve been making a mistake all these years and be glad you came around. If you already like the man, you’ll love this album. Simple as that.