KINK Community member Cynthia Orlando weighs in on Ryan Adams
Music Review: "Ashes &
Fire," Ryan Adams
Looking for a good, solid, recently-released CD
to add to your holiday shopping list? Ryan Adams' "Ashes and Fire"
might just fit the bill. His new CD opens with "Dirty Rain," a song
about reflection and reconciliation that receives a helping hand from Norah
Jones on piano. Tom Petty & The
Heartbreakers' keyboardist Benmont Tench appears on most of the tracks as
The majority of "Ashes and Fire"
selections seem to meander along a soul-searching kind of a path, so it's not
surprising the title track continues along in the same vein as "Dirty
Rain." "A river she cried," sings Adams, "left her
with a heart, made of ashes and fire."
What is kind of surprising is that
"Ashes and Fire" is on Billboard's Top Ten list this week.
The music of an artist like Ryan
Adams isn't easily categorized: is it alternative? rock? country? Still, the
country-western feel of the next track, "Come Home" - with its
wonderfully wistful pedal steel - makes us wish he'd cut loose next time and
release an entire CD of similar, substantial country-style ballads.
Born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Ryans
began to learn to play guitar at the age of 14 and has been making music since
he was in high school. He began his solo career in 2000 with the release of
"Heartbreaker," and has released some 11 albums since. KINK
listeners are well-familiar with "Two," which was included on
"KINK Live 11," as well as the gratifying clamor of "Magick
(What Goes Around Comes Around)," from his "Cardinology"
The aura of "Ashes and Fire" lightens
and brightens with "Chains of Love," as Ryan exuberantly sings in
time with a sweeping string section reminiscent of a Bruce Hornsby arrangement:
"Lightning in the sky above / Blink and see the traces / Everything you
are to me / Is bigger than the spaces."
Yes, the bulk of the songs Adams brings to life
on "Ashes and Fire" are primarily quiet, pensive, reflective. And
yes, his new hit single "Lucky Now" is of a similar genre, but
Adams' vocals and the song's catchy refrain are both exceptionally uplifting
and oh so very satisfying.
Final recommendation? Go ahead and add
"Ashes and Fire" to your holiday shopping list. Just remember, with
the rainy season almost upon us, music as warm and restorative as these
selections just may make the perfect present to give yourself.