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

2 responses to “88. Ryan Adams – “Heartbreaker”

  1. I always knew from the A’s that you were digging a hole for yourself by rating Gold so highly. It’s such an MOR dog. Heartbreaker, on the other hand is a heartbreaker and well worth the effort. And any man worth his salt will also tell you to go get the Jacksonville City Nights/Limits (i can never remember which one) if you want some moody crooning.

    Form now on, I’m going to go hard on your rankings and ensure that like Kevin Rudd, you take responsibility for your insults to air hostesses and music lovers alike. In fact, at the end of the letter “Z”, I’m calling for a re-rating of Gold.

  2. I smell what you’re cooking “TIO”. I share some of your concerns here… but I am a little reluctant to retrace my steps…

    “Heartbreaker” got a spin before Ben Kweller and his crew hit the stage last nightat the Corner Hotel and it sounded damn fine. Maybe there’s a big gulf between #5 and #6 on my current rankings??

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