Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Here Comes My Man

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

Well, it's confirmed. I'm still wildly and madly in love with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals. My favourite alt-country artist, and without a doubt one of my favourite artist in general, Ryan Adams is that musician for me whose discography is something I possess in full. It's extremely rare for me to hear one of his songs and not appreciate and adore it, not listen to it repeatedly, and not tell at least three people they need to get the album.

I don't know what it is about this Americana poet that captivates me. It might be his wonderfully relateable lyrics, his subdued (actually stage fright-stricken) demeanor, or his heartfelt instruments - but either way, I always hear an Adams song and understand or connect with one part of it. You could say that I like him, because I feel like I know him. Or he knows me. Or something of the sort.

After a two year hiatus, he just released the first single off his upcoming November album Ashes and Ice, called "Lucky Now", and like I would expect - it's another perfect country rock ballad that would be welcomed with open arms by the likes of Jackson Browne or James Taylor. Decorated with his soft twang and rolling acoustics, this song is destined to soar out of an open window on a Southern highway.

Introspective questions about his youth like: "I don't remember were we wild and young? All that's faded in the memory. I feel like somebody I don't know - am I really who I was?" lead into conclusions about his present when his raspy vocals hum, "The lights will draw you in and the dark will take you down, and the night will break your heart only if you're lucky now...Love can mend your heart, only if you're lucky now." The song stays at ground level, never taking off to a higher and heavier alternative-country place - which is actually one of the nicest things about it. Charming and sweet, Adams narrates these passing thoughts throughout the three-minute song, with homey acoustic guitars and a tinkering countryside piano right there with him.

Although a simple little tune, Ryan Adams and his rural rock songs always hit hard and resound as real classics. When it comes to so many of the greatest artists of our time, it takes more than a catchy hook to really reel us in - it takes thoughtful stories, timeless melodies, and a true character to deliver them both. There's Ryan Adams, and most likely this new album, for you.

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