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Ryan Adams pumps out
another classic collection

Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
Cold Roses (Lost Highway)


Sometimes, I wonder if he even has to try anymore.

Ryan Adams, the maddeningly prolific country-punk
rocker has pumped out another collection of songs
that are all really,
really good. It’s like a joke at this
point. It seems like this guy writes four or five
albums a year at will, picks his favorites, then
releases them while the others get leaked online.
By the time the actual album is out, he’s playing the
next one on tour. It’s like no one ever told him that everyone else takes 1-5 years between records.

The first of three albums due out this year (
Jacksonville City Lights  and 29 will be out later), the double-LP Cold
follows the spirit of Love is Hell more closely than Rock N Roll. The latter was a slap-dash collection of
rock songs that played like a “name the influence” game, while the
Love is Hell EPs collected the more
thoughtful, serious material.
Cold Roses plays with a fluidness that makes it insanely catchy and addictive.

It’s not necessarily a theme that ties everything together, though his trademark love-torn weariness is present
throughout. It’s a feeling and a mood that carries this record. “Magnolia Mountain” kicks it off with a Dead-esque
vibe that carries and builds for five-plus minutes, maybe the best opening track on any of his albums yet.
“Beautiful Sorta” plays with a strange restlessness, one that works its antsy feeling while Adams’ voice rises
higher and higher over the Cardinals’ backing.

Every song here succeeds at building its own personality while still tying in with the 17 other tracks. And
“Friends,” a disenchanted song, closes this affair out with a gentle sadness that has come to be Adams’
“This afternoon with you was something like a letter,
The kind that someone writes but never sends
And when you look at me,
You remind me that someday its gonna end
And when you pass on,
God, I bet you miss your friends…”
There are great artists, and there are great albums. This is a great record from one of the best of our time. And,
in a few months, there will be yet more where this came from.