On his third release of a most prolific year, Ryan Adams takes a break from his band, the Cardinals, to fashion an introspective song cycle with stripped-down arrangements focused on acoustic guitar or solo piano. After the propulsive, self-mythologizing title track opens the album in brazen fashion, forging an unlikely bond of comparison between John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and the early '70s Grateful Dead, much of the rest of 29
finds Adams at his dreamiest (the reveries of "Strawberry Wine" and "Elizabeth, You Were Born to Play That Part") and most rapturously romantic (the aching falsetto on the lovesick "Starlite Diner"). He continues to take chances and not all of them pay off, with the underwatery echo of "Night Birds" and the over-the-top dramatics of "The Sadness" showing the downside of self-indulgence, though "Carolina Rain" suggests he can return to the alt-country prime of Whiskeytown whenever the mood strikes. With the intimacy of the closing "Voices," Adams sounds less like he is singing a song than sharing a secret. Refusing to rein himself in or pin himself down, he sings on the title track, "You can't hang on to something that won't stop moving." --Don McLeese
29 is the third and final album from Ryan Adams this year. as opposed to the two previous releases of 2005, that Ryan recorded with his band The Cardinals, 29 is a solo album of all new and original material.
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