Latest reviews

Album Review

Live at Carnegie Hall

April 21, 2015

"If my heart had a geography, it would look just like walking down Fifth Avenue," Ryan Adams told the crowd at the end of his solo acoustic stand at Carnegie Hall last year. On this stunning 40-plus-song live collection, he offers a heartfelt love letter...

Album Review

Ryan Adams

September 9, 2014

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...

Song Review

"Lucky Now"

September 9, 2011

The first taste of the North Carolina rocker's forthcoming 13th LP, Ashes & Fire, carries a melodic echo of Neil Young's "Love Is a Rose." But the melancholy here runs much deeper. "I don't remember, were we wild and young?/All that's faded into memory,"...

Album Review


October 30, 2008

Ryan Adams' drug problems and public tantrums have often overshadowed his music. But Cardinology may put an end to that. His first release in a year — notable for a guy who put out three (albeit spotty) full-lengths in 2005 — it's the record...

Album Review


January 12, 2006

Even loyal completists may hesitate before committing to this, the third collection human jukebox Ryan Adams has brought to market since last May. Recorded before his outings with the Cardinals (the double-disc Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights),...

Album Review

Cold Roses

June 2, 2005

At its best, Cold Roses lives between the twin blooms of the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers" and the Grateful Dead's American Beauty, each of which turned to country music at the start of the Seventies to sustain a counterculture rapidly running out of...

Album Review

Love Is Hell Part 1

December 10, 2003

According to Ryan Adams' semi-coherent Web posts during the making of what was supposed to be his third studio album, his label balked as his new songs, telling him they were "too alternative rock," "incredibly depressing" and "not your best stuff." And...

Album Review


September 10, 2002

For some musicians, songwriting is like tooth extraction; for others, it's as easy as brushing twice a day. Like Prince and Stephin Merritt, rising alt-country star Ryan Adams is a compulsive songwriter. His third solo album, Demolition, collects demos...

Album Review


September 14, 2000

Though he's only twenty-five, Ryan Adams, the lead singer of Whiskeytown, is the sort of artist who seems perpetually on the cusp of a masterpiece. He came close with his star-crossed band, which is currently trying to find a new record label, and now...

Album Review

Ashes & Fire

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...

Album Review


December 14, 2010

Around 2006, prolific, hard-drugging singer-songwriter Ryan Adams cleaned up and began spitting out even more music. III/IV is 21 songs from 2007's Easy Tiger sessions, supplanting that album's wired folk rock with a blend of punk head rush, New Wave...

Album Review

Easy Tiger

June 13, 2007

Having failed to die young, disappear at sea or get his body stolen and burned in the Mojave Desert, Ryan Adams had no choice but to make a professional country-rock album. Easy Tiger is Adams at his most consistent and measured, as slick and slow as...

Album Review

Jacksonville City Nights

October 6, 2005

Lately Ryan Adams has been revisiting the country rock of his early career: first with Cold Roses, the two-disc set Adams and his band the Cardinals put out just a few months ago; and now on Jacksonville City Nights, an unadulterated return to form. Nights...

Album Review

Love Is Hell Part 2

January 6, 2004

Adams shows he can still do gentle, understated tunes somewhere inside the mind of Ryan Adams, far away from the twitchy extroversion he's currently selling via his new album, Rock N Roll, a humble troubadour still writes little songs. They're not all...

Album Review

Rock N Roll

October 22, 2003

Let me sing a song for you/That's never been sung before: Those are the first words out of Ryan Adams' mouth in "This Is It," the opening song here — and he delivers them in a strip-mined yelp that is one hundred percent Paul Westerberg. Adams plainly...

Album Review


October 25, 2001

Ryan Adams writes songs and makes records like there's no tomorrow. Gold is just one of three albums the North Carolina-born former leader of Whiskeytown has completed in the past year. There's an LP's worth of Gold outtakes too, ten songs he pulled to...