Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams

Credit: David Black

Ryan Adams is a master conjurer: See the NoCal folk rock of Cold Roses, the Southern alt-country of Jacksonville City Nights, etc. For his first LP since 2011 – a stretch for a guy who generally releases a record or more a year – Adams rewires heartland rock, with major-chord, Reagan-era guitars, muscle-shirt drums and a thousand-yard stare. "Trouble" declares, "Heeey, we might as well be dead and gone," astride fast-lane guitar choogle, while the agoraphobe narrator of "I Just Might" ponders a very bad act. This refreshingly focused set resolves on the chiming "Tired of Giving Up." An unfettered declaration of joy? Hardly. But hope, apparently, is a process.