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Ashes & Fire

4.4 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 11, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Ryan Adams' new album Ashes & Fire was recorded at Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood and produced by Glyn Johns, renowned for his work with the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Clash, The Who and The Rolling Stones--and whose son Ethan produced previous Ryan Adams albums Heartbreaker, Gold and 29.

"All great records start with great songs," commented Dan McCarroll, President of Capitol and Virgin Records. "Ashes & Fire will remind you why Ryan Adams is at the front of the line as one of his generation's most gifted artists."

From the slow burning stunner of an opener "Dirty Rain" through the infectious shuffle of the title track and irresistible harmonies of "Lucky Now," to the closing lament of "I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say," Ashes & Fire is arguably the most cohesive and beautiful album of Adams' distinguished career.

Ashes & Fire also features guest turns from Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench as well as Norah Jones who contributes piano and backing vocals on several tracks, including the lilting, acoustic overtures of "Come Home," the sumptuous ballad "Save Me" and the heartfelt "Kindness."

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: PAX-AM / Capitol Records
  • ASIN: B005GVW05Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,248 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I love Ryan Adams, and you need to know that up front. That said, I've been a little let down by Easy Tiger, which I loved at first, but which has not stayed in my CD player as much as say Cold Roses (probably his masterpiece!) or the somewhat misunderstood genius of 29. I was worried that this CD could be a return to more Easy Tiger style stuff, which was good but not very memorable. I am so pleased to be wrong. Dirty Rain, the first track, starts us off on an easy midtempo folky song with a great melody and a fantastic vocal, full of the passion and grit that we've missed a little recently. You've probably heard Ashes & Fire by now if you are a Ryan Adams fan, and it is a good one. I haven't heard him use the waltz beat very much, and he uses it well. The vocal on "Kindness" is absolutely transcendent, it reminds me of the best vocals from Cold Roses, and the use of the organ subtly in the background is very welcome. I love the piano touches, which are not overboard, and I love his gentle drawl. I love this song, and for me it is probably the standout of the record. Fans of alt-country Ryan (as opposed to Rock N Roll Ryan, Heavy Prog Metal Ryan, English 80's Pop Ryan, Rap Ryan, Death Metal Ryan, or any of the other incarnations that he inhabits with remarkable facility) will find much to enjoy. For me, his voice--by turns gentle, trembling, cracked, gritty, and melodic sounds fantastic here. Ryan does a lot of styles well, but this is the style at which he is the acknowledged master, and this set of music will make those who love his heartbroken tales of woe and love gone wrong very very pleased that they have continued to listen.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First of all, I find that people really don't seem to understand Ryan Adams. Since "Gold" he has released pretty sonically-thematic albums, he tends to save the acoustic songs for an album, the rockers for another, etc. He's such a prolific songwriter, I can't say I disagree with his method. I'll bet he has a big electric album coming soon also for all of you who want that side of him. I've also heard that this quieter album and his subsequent solo acoustic tour have to do with his current hearing problems from playing with Whiskeytown and the Cardinals electric for all these years. That said, I find the melodies to be strong and reminiscent of the Gram Parsons reference he's been trying to shake for all these years with his different adopted personae but has outlived. I think Glyn Johns definitely brings a decidedly classic-rock, California country-rock vibe to this album with his production. It reminds me of Neil Young's "After the Goldrush" quite a bit actually. "Dirty Rain", the title track and "Do I Wait" are definitely standouts but I also found myself drawn to the more laid-back "Rocks", "Save Me", "Kindness" and "Lucky Now". A very, very solid albeit laid-back record. I actually think a big loud rocker would have ruined this record for me, I'm sure he has those to come and I love that side of him also, but not on this album. I'm perfectly happy with a laid-back record with good melodies and the acoustic vibe.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This is an album that I have waited for....the songs are not from his wild rock n roll side but instead from his mellower and deeper side of him. Each song is perfectly written and performed. If you love his songs like Damn Sam, La Cienega Just Smiled, Come Pick Me Up, you won't be disappointed. He really is Brilliant! This is the side of Ryan that first made me notice him. Of course, he's a natural as a rock and roller and he is at the top on my list, but this more mellow side is what I love about his music.
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Format: Audio CD
Now a sober man with a Hollywood wife, a Hollywood house and his own record label, Pax Am, Ryan Adams has released the first record of his second act, a mellow and warm singer/songwriter effort called Ashes & Fire. The two things you're bound to hear about this record - if you're the investigative type - is that: 1) The record is quite mellow and fells like something of a brother to Neil Young's Harvest and After the Goldrush; and 2) Adams has become, maybe above all else, an incredible vocalist.

In a 2001 interview, following the release of his make-or-break sophomore solo release, Gold, Adams spoke about his then-strict routine, where he forced himself to spend an hour each day working on songwriting, an hour each day practicing guitar and an hour or more each day singing. It was no surprise then that, following Gold, Adams became one of the most prolific - and consistent - songwriters of his generation, releasing 12 albums between his breakthrough release, 1997's Stranger's Almanac, and today's Ashes & Fire. All along it's been said that Adams was a heavy user, living out the mission set forth in his 2001 song "Firecracker," where he sand "Everyone wants to go forever / I just want to burn up hard and bright." Clearly, things have changed, and Ashes & Fire is the document.

What first took my attention was the look of the record. Adams, also a painter and novelist, had never struck me as a man with an overall aesthetic like, say, Thom Yorke or Jack White. That is, not one to speak too highly of. Mostly, Adams - for me that is - was a lousy painter and poet who could make great, great songs that sometimes had very good lyrics.
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