Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
It’s one of those days where nostalgia is the main feeling, where Autumn unfolds its arms and the cold embraces your souls while those golden beams pass through buildings and trees; it is at that exact moment where some new sounds catch my ear and a familiar voice sings lyrics I haven’t heard before in my life.
It’s this time of the year where these kind of sounds can touch every cell of your being, as it seems that this is the time of the year where our capacity to feel is wider, the end of the year approaches, and how can we say no to those beautiful sunsets and moonlight?
Well, that’s the context on which I’m listening to Ryan Adam’s new Album called Ashes & Fire. As for the biographical bit, this is the first album by Ryan Adams after two years of silence and, I must mention this part, it was the time when he married Mandy Moore as well. Why should we care about his personal life? It’s just because his new album becomes a mirror to his emotions, delivering sweet and mellow country tunes with lyrics that describe unconditional love, new lives built on the foundations of truthfulness, happiness, etc. There’s an evident contrast from Ryan Adams’ previous work from track one (‘Dirty Rain’) with lines like “Last time I was here it was raining / but it ain’t rainin’ anymore”, that insinuates a complete renewal and reinvention process of this musician, and becomes evident as the album advances.
This album includes 11 tracks that can’t deny its Flying Burrito Brothers influence, mixed with soft jazzy pianos and organs, and acoustic / electric guitars that stay true to Mr. Adams’ capacity to convey thoughts and feelings with just one riff, providing music with textures and atmospheres that evoke the spaces of our happiest hours and days, all permeated with hints of retro styles. This is an album that sounds like autumn itself, indeed!
As the curious note of this review, both Mandy Moore and Norah Jones are special guests to some tracks, which I must say, are definitely the cherry on top of the cake. These special appearances as chorus give a dual element to this work, quietly talking about the perfect complement of every life, as to say songs are more harmonious when there are two voices following the same path, side by side.
Every song is permeated with a special atmosphere and has this capacity to create or bring images to our minds, as ‘Kindness’ (track no. 7), which is a quiet and stylish track, one of those that just confirm one sentence I love: ‘let music do the talking’.
One of my favorite tracks was ‘Rocks’, the number four of this list, as it includes experimental drums brushing that eventually recreate the sound of a river, and a muffled drumstick sounds that provides the song with an unique depth. It seems Ryan Adams is singing his heart out not only in this track, but through the complete album.
Times change, people change, music styles change. As years and months go by, life itself plays with our perspective of things and events, gives us hard or beautiful feeling, makes our ideas or thoughts grow stronger or just debunks them. We can’t expect a band or musician to have the same style and lyrics during their careers and if they do, then we’re missing a little bit of honesty there. Music is a mirror, and becomes a means in this album to tell the world that life’s good because you’ve found your significant other, like seeing life through new eyes.
I definitely liked this album, it reminds you (or makes you feel) that love is real.