Daily Archives: April 7, 2009

88. Ryan Adams – “Heartbreaker”

I thought I’d break up the Bragg monotony, with a recently acquired album in the As.

adams-ryan-heartbreaker-album-coverSo you may recall me enthusing about Adams’ Gold album.  Not long after I bought a pile of CDs on sale from Bloodshot Records, including Ryan’s debut.

This is quite a contrast with his later work.  It is much rawer and less pretentious.  There is a real young Steve Earle vibe going on here. His voice has a wonderful vulnerability, and his songwriting is mesmerising.  The production is sympathetic to this tenderness, and the tunes are not as grandiose as on Gold.

It’s worth judging country artists by the company they keep.  Here he plays with some of the best – Gillan Welch and her hubby, plus Emmylou Harris.  They are clearly impressed with his stuff, and deservedly so.

This is one of those good heartbreak albums – i.e. not overly self-indulgent and with some universality to the sentiment.  At times, Adams does get pretty obscure with his metaphors, but I’ll let him go there.  What is harder to forgive is the lame opening track of him and his buddy chatting about some Morrissey album.  Why, or why do musicians think we’re going to want to listen to such banter repeatedly.  All hail the ability to delete tracks from iTunes.

File under: alt-country awesomenessosity