2011 - A year in review.

# 9. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
(PAX AM, October 11th 2011)

Well, Ryan Adams sort of is my favourite recording artist - that means that he could have released some total shit and he probably would have gotten at least a mention on this list - so much better that Ashes & Fire is a really good record then. Ashes & Fire is Adams' 13th studio recording and his first since he kind of quit the music industry some years ago now. The quitting was because of medical reasons, and his Meniere-disease. He has gotten the disease somewhat in check now and fortunately for us he is back on the road and making sweet sweet music.

Ashes & Fire was recorded with producer-legend Glyn Johns at the helm and the result is one of Adams' most focused records yet. It's a quite mellow affair with a great sounding acoustic band. A record which sounds the very best in the night after the dark has set in. The production is fantastic and the record sounds warm and near - almost like you are in the same room as the players.

Lead by first single "Lucky Now", an almost Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler-gem (that's a compliment), the record is filled with classic Adams tunes. The kind of ramshackle waltz of the title track and the very Ryan Adams-sounding and really really great tune "Come Home" with Norah Jones on backing vocals are just two of the standout tracks. My favourite songs change from each time I hear the album.

Lyrically the album is a bit more happy than earlier records by Adams, you hear that every word is there for a reason and every word is something he has lived through. Sometimes it might sound like cliches, but I for one think that when some years have passed we will see this as Adams' coming of age record. This is where he became fully comfortable with himself and his music.

So thank you, mr. Adams. Welcome back, hope you'll hang around for a long long time.

"Are we really who we used to be,
am I really who I was?"

Ryan Adams - Lucky Now (Official video)