Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
The Music Box's #10 album of 2005
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2005, Volume 12, #6
Written by T.J. Simon
After listening to Ryan Adamsí new disc Cold Roses, one can envision the latest acquisitions that the alt-country poster boy has added to his personal audio collection. Indeed, based upon the two-CD collection of original material, itís clear that Adams has brought his affinity for The Byrds, Neil Young, and the Grateful Dead to the forefront of his music. Throughout the effortís 18 songs, these influences shine brightly, though they also serve to make the new album an enjoyable, if overloaded and frequently derivative, addition to his rich body of work.
Perhaps, what is most notable about Cold Roses is that it is a return to the stylistic approach of Adamsí former band Whiskeytown, and in that regard, it should please those fans who have been bellyaching about the direction that his solo career has taken. The best moments of the album, which include the title track and the Western-influenced Let It Ride, evoke the sounds of Adamsí early days with his groundbreaking former outfit. Not coincidently, these songs also feature guest vocals from Chicago singer-songwriter Rachel Yamagata. Sweet Illusions and When Will You Come Back Home also effectively resurrect the Whiskeytown sound. Elsewhere, those who appreciate Jerry Garciaís widespread influence upon modern music will be grateful for the laid-back Easy Plateau as well as the opening cut Magnolia Mountain, while fans of more traditional country will likely find Cherry Lane to be a highpoint.
For the record, Ryan Adams never has been stingy about providing a plethora of material to the record-buying public, and 2005 will find the erratic, genre-hopping singer-songwriter with three separate releases spread out over the course of the year. While his prolific nature is to be admired, a little self-editing may be in order. As an album, Cold Roses would have been a stronger release as a tightly-produced single disc leaving some of the fat ó Now That Youíre Gone, for example ó on the cutting room floor. For that matter, if Adams had selected a dozen tracks from the 50 heís likely to release this year, he could have made the album of the decade. Even with that in mind, Cold Roses is still a sterling effort.
Of Further Interest...
Cold Roses is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box