http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/8aa316ae8d3ace63edfe6408154f68539bf6769c.jpg Ashes & Fire

Ryan Adams

Ashes & Fire

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
October 11, 2011

Which Ryan Adams is it this time? Crazed punk provocateur? Uncloseted metal fan? Classic-rocker? Happily, it's the latter, in a largely unplugged mode. Out is his twangy backing band, the Cardinals, and in is an A-list pickup team, with Tom Petty veteran Benmont Tench on keyboards and Norah Jones on piano and harmonies. The mood is quietly apocalyptic: "Let the needle move the record round/Until the walls cave in," Adams sings in "Dirty Rain," one of a number of beautifully weary human-wreckage surveys. The hush on this mellow set may be due in part to Adams' recent hearing problems. Either way, it proves he doesn't need noise to blow you away.

Listen to "Lucky Now":

Photos From 'Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: A View of Other Windows'

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »