This acoustic performance is so good it deserves another listen: Some of you may have missed this on the first go round.
Ryan Adams is a worthy NC Artist for your home collection
Every time Ryan Adams thinks he’s out, he pulls himself back in. It turns out the follow-up to 2011’s Ashes & Fire isn’t the completed album he made with Glyn Johns but a self-produced collection of songs recorded at Adams’ recording studio, PAX AM. (Some tunes were coproduced with Mike Viola.) The mercurial singer/songwriter who broke up his band (The Cardinals), flirted with retirement, and formed a punk group sounds plenty much like the Ryan Adams we’ve come to expect. The alt-country sounds are scrubbed down for an electric guitar–based heartland rock that gets a touch of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, thanks to the involvement of longtime Petty organist Benmont Tench. “Shadows” is the loudest cry in the dark, with Adams’ guitars ringing and clashing over Tal Wilkenfeld’s stalking bassline. “Feels Like Fire” follows up the existential ache, with Johnny Depp playing guitar and adding a backing vocal. “I Just Might” pulses with a hint of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper.” On 1989, Ryan Adams offers a track-by-track reinterpretation of Taylor Swift’s chart-topping 2014 album. The result is as intimate as it is disarming. Adams presents Tay-Tay’s explosive pop hooks with an air of graceful melancholy, using acoustic guitars and reverb-soaked vocals to add heartbroken emotion to familiar hits like “Shake It Off,” “Bad Blood,” and “Blank Space.” Still, the most satisfying moments on Adams’ version of 1989 are the deep cuts from Swift’s original release, including the dusky glow of “Out of the Woods” and chiming guitars of “Wildest Dreams.”