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Ashes & Fire

60 customer reviews

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Ashes & Fire
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Ryan Adams "Ashes and Fire"


Ryan Adams is a multiple-Grammy-nominated singer songwriter from Jacksonville, NC whose critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums both as a solo artist and with the Cardinals have included Heartbreaker (2000), Gold (2001), Love Is Hell (2004), Cold Roses (2005) and Easy Tiger (2007) which TIME magazine hailed as "a career breakthrough." Adams is also the CEO of his own ... Read more in Amazon's Ryan Adams Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (10 Oct. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,770 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Dirty Rain
2. Ashes & Fire
3. Come Home
4. Rocks
5. Do I Wait
6. Chains Of Love
7. Invisible Riverside
8. Save Me
9. Kindness
10. Lucky Now
11. I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say

Product Description

BBC Review

For an artist with such noted prolificacy as Ryan Adams, the release of another album has the tendency to pass the world at large without note. Few outside his hardcore fanbase will be aware he released a solo metal record, Orion, last year; or that in the 11 years since his lauded debut Heartbreaker he's now released a dozen albums, either solo or with his band The Cardinals.

Such frequency of output can often compromise quality control, and to an extent Ryan has suffered from his casual fans burning out - the man once heralded by many as the greatest songwriter of his generation has yet to capitalise on the promise shown by the magnificent brace of albums he started his post-Whiskeytown career with. While dashes of his finest work appear on Love Is Hell (2004), Cold Roses (2005) and 29 (2005), a natural continuation of the rooted-in-country, heart-on-sleeve songwriting of his earliest albums has never really surfaced since. Until now.

That's not to say Ashes & Fire sounds as if it comes straight out of 2001. This is the work of a sober, thoughtful Adams, rediscovering himself. Opener Dirty Rain heralds a chorus vocal as confident as one will find in his entire catalogue. With the track stripped to its core instrumentation, Adams' voice soars - and one can't help but recall the same rush of blood from first hearing Winding Wheel or Firecracker.

The title-track stands up next to some of Ryan's finest material, representing a clear highlight alongside the sombre, late-album gem Kindness. The former number is the closest this record comes to a fist-raising sing-along anthem; while the latter delivers the female-backed, introspective country'n'organ jam that made Heartbreaker so achingly special.

It would do the record a disservice, however, if the shimmering guitars and driving kick drums of the set's mid-section weren't celebrated. Chains of Love oozes the same style that made Love Is Hell a cult classic, and saves this collection from a slump at the moment where his previous efforts have often faltered.

Ashes & Fire is the sound of Ryan Adams replacing himself amongst music's most revered. If you've not had the patience or time to commit to an album of his since 2001's Gold, his acclaimed second LP, there has not been a better time to do so. This is an album that delivers more and more with every listen, showcasing an artist maturing with grace and poise.

--Colin Roberts

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Don Panik TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Oct. 2011
Format: MP3 Download
There used to be a theory that Ryan Adams was too prolific, and lacked any quality control filter. However with the exception of III/IV and `rock n roll' I have always found plenty to like on all his albums. With a bit of a lay off from new music output over the last couple of years, Ryan has come back with what I think is his best album since the `love is hell' period.

On first hearing I thought it was a solid 4 star record - with no obviously great songs - but no weak ones either (bit of a first for Ryan!). Having now listened repeatedly, the album has grown on me considerably, revealing some great new textures to the arrangements (especially the organ), and he is in consistently good voice. This turns out to be a much more mature and refined album than I initially gave it credit for, revealing a subtlety that is only revealed when you listen carefully. Absolutely recommended.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ryan Adams as far as I have met so far in my area in the UK is a musician men are jealous of so they put down his music and never give it the chance it absolutely deserves.

I ve been listening to his music now for about 8 years - and I can get into some albums, heartbreaker/gold/easy tiger

every other album reminds me of my friends I admire for their musical talent. Ryan has the ability to surprise you - every album takes a while to adjust to. If you like those albums that fall into place in perfect design - buy this.

Each song brings a totally different tempo/sound - they are all the same meaning. This is a great driving album if you like the sound of instruments being played - in the end, thankfully from me, each song blends very well into the next. You don't notice this at first. Lucky now/chains of love/kindness are the stand out tracks for me - however I think listening to 'do I wait' is what will get you into the album. Ryan does so clearly imitate other artists - particularly in the track 'ashes and fire' which is so Bob Dylan. If I knew what a chord was or how to count a beat - I think I could find a code to match two songs together...there are slight musical references to 'Cold Roses' and 'Love is Hell' on this album - I always love those - for a few seconds you think "hey that's from 'let it go' in cold roses" - This album like most of the best is multi-dimensional and Ryan Adams has not let me down and Im very glad I have bought this album. It cheers me up as I drive singing along.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By vic millard on 3 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD
its been a long time coming(where on earth is the Orion thingy?).it used to be the case that you would excuse the odd sub standard album because there would be another one along a few months later.Now it seems ages since really new stuff.That time has given me chance to reassess the back catalogue.albums like "29"which I hated at the time have now become firm favourites.
"29" is,to me,the nearest reference point to the new album ie,its fairly subdued and acoustic(mainly).what does strike me is that "Ashes and Fire" is a masterclass in songwriting.Everything proceeds naturally in exactly the right no point do you wonder why he did something.Net result is an album you can feel comfortable with on the first listen but then find new things to enjoy with repeated listens(make no mistake you will play this lots).
favourite tracks?Different one every time.At the moment its"Lucky One" with its Jackson Browne meets Mark Knopfler feel but it all flows along so smoothly(maybe a slight reservation about"i love you but I dont know what to say"which I can hear being murdered by somebody famous and awful)
Ahh,go on buy it.Its great.
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Format: Audio CD
I could go into a very long statement about what I think to Ryan Adams, being a huge fan of his work, but I'll keep it as short as I can. One of THE most innovative, prolific and consistently great singer songwriters of recent times. Every now and then, comes an artist who gets people talking. Ryan Adams is one of those artists and it's no surprise that he is one of the most highly respected figures in music. Having seen him play live, his true passion and art needs no introduction to any serious follower of real music. This is what real music should be about. Passion, unconventional, non mainstream and highly personal. Following on from classics such as Heartbreaker, Jacksonville City Nights, Love Is Hell, Gold, Demolition and also his archive recordings and unreleased material from 48 Hours, Suicide Handbook and Bedhead, Ashes and Fire is a welcome return to his acoustic masterworks. "Chains of Love" is a hip, strumming beat with a good vibe. The soulful, deep "Invisible Riverside" is already a classic and the highly thoughtful "Do I Wait" tells a story in itself, which many of us can relate to. He is one of those people who doesn't go out of his way to make himself known. His work is followed by people who just "get it" and know cool tunes when they hear them. Christ kiss you Mr Adams, for just being here!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Oct. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Those who were lucky enough to catch Ryan Adams recent UK acoustic tour (the sweltering Oxford Playhouse gig was a superb performance*) will have seen the alt country troubadour in a quiet reflective mood. His new album "Ashes & Fire" accurately captures that ambience and is a genuinely lovely album full of strong songwriting and a number of potential classics. It's worth stating from the outset that this album is neither another "Heartbreaker" or "Gold" as the quality control across this new work is not as innovative or radical enough. Ryan Adams had "retired" from music for a number of years and spent much of this period sorting out his personal life and exercising demons so while Ashes & Fire represents a proper album if it has a template then it's the intimacy of 2005's largely low key "29". Whatever the case that overused term "return to form" is highly appropriate.

It all kicks off with "Dirty Rain" which grows on every listen and is the sort of effortless alt country sung with the rich North Carolina twang which Adams should take a patent on. The excellent organ backing of the Heartbreakers Benmont Tench is a consistent and welcome innovation throughout. The title track of the album is alternatively the one real out and out country anthem alia "Jacksonville City Nights" but happily fits in the running order. The next two songs "Come home" and "Rocks" are lush ballads although the latter just about manages to stay on the right side of mawkish. Much better is the tougher "Do I wait" built on a classic chord structure and better lyrics, it's the type of song that will figure in concert performances and at some point Adams will no doubt "electrify" it, the same applies to the classy "Chains of love".
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