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4.3 out of 5 stars41
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 26 May 2005
Being a long term Whiskeytown/Ryan Adams fan, pre-ordering this CD was a no-brainer for me. However, having been one of those in the camp that found Rock 'n' Roll a little too contrived and Love is Hell adorable, but only in small doses, it was a blast to hear just how back on form this new offering is!
I've had the CD almost two weeks now and the only track I haven't warmed to is 'Now that you're gone'. Put it another way, 18 great tracks out of 19. Q Magazine didn't like the album, except for that very track! Oh well, it takes all sorts as they say. A lot of the tracks have that whole building up through the structure of the song as it progresses, a bit like early Springsteen.
One amazing reference point on this album is the Grateful Dead. Some of the lead guitar work on disc two is pure Jerry Garcia circa 1970 - I think someone has been studying the masters! As on Love is Hell, Ryan is taking some of his melodies into Roy Orbison territory, but he does it so well, it works.
All in all, this is a brilliant return to form. If you are a Whiskeytown fan, or a fan of Heartbreaker or Gold - then simply buy this album, you'll love it. If you are a Grateful Dead fan, you're in for a nice surprise. If you're the sort of person who can't stand a pedal steel guitar, then this album might just change your mind once and for all.
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on 4 May 2005
Cold Roses, quite honestly, should have come out two months ago when the album's themes of love lost and soldiering on could have been more useful. In a shot back to Whisketown-era sound, Adams has developed a two-disc release capable of making Yankees nostalgic for the South. Crafted in the vein of folk remorse, Roses stands to be a reminder to any fan of the Ryan Adams that arose from the streets of Nashville into the national star he is. The album is perhabs a stab back at his former band, proving he can craft the sound with any revolving band, or perhaps it is a reminder to listeners that his most recent album, Rock N Roll, wasn't his future direction. The truth is that it doesn't matter. Cold Roses is a crafted product that ranges from the driven "Let It Ride" to the rambling "Magnolia Mountain," but strikes the heart with pieces like "Sweet Illusions." The first of an ambitious three-record release effort, Cold Roses is well worth the purchase price and well worth the wait for any of Mr. Adams' fans.
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on 23 May 2005
Simply put, this album is a raw, sometimes bleak, look at the rise and fail of relationships. It's a superb 'break-up' record and the lyrics really cut to the bone. This is what Mr Adams does best and he has done it again here on this cracking double album.
If you're new to Ryan then this record isn't the best start as it feels like a natual follow on from 'Love Is Hell' and his records with Whiskeytown but what do I know? All I know is that this is great stuff and worth your time.
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VINE VOICEon 1 June 2005
2005 may well go down in history as the Year of Adams with this the first of three promised albums to see the light of day. If the other two are anywhere near as good as Cold Roses then we are indeed blessed.
Two discs, nineteen tracks, more pedal steel than a Nashville wedding reception and the sort of lyrics that make grown men reach for the paper hankies - this is Ryan Adams back to the sort of form which last surfaced on Demolition. Cold Roses boldly states Adams' many influences without ever nosediving into parody or irony - Neil Young, Springsteen, Dylan and Lucinda Williams could all have written such emotive gems as 'How Do You Keep Love Alive', 'Easy Plateau' or 'Cherry Lane' while the rockier numbers such as 'Let It Ride' and 'Beautiful Sorta' recall the heady days of Whiskeytown.
Adams' new band, The Cardinals are a receptive and talented quartet who do the music more than justice with the aforementioned pedal steel of Cindy Cashdollar and the classic 50s Country sound of JP Bowersock's electric guitar deserving special mention.
'Rock'n'Roll' and 'Love Is Hell' certainly had their detractors and doom merchants but these should be (hopefully) silenced by this long overdue return to form. May this be the first of Ryan Adams' successful trio for '05.
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on 29 December 2008
Not being a massive RA fan (I bought Gold and thought it was fabulous, heard Rock n Roll and thought it wasn't),I've been a bit skeptical about his reputation. He struck me as a thinking person's Pete Doherty - but with more talent. I went to see him on the recent Cardinals tour and was left a bit confused by a set which veered between the sublime, beautiful and dull. A pal subsequently persuaded me to buy Cold Roses and its is a lovely album. Chokka with really well written, sung and played songs. Perhaps its, its not rock - but more importantly its just very good music. Mellow, melancholy and soulful in equal measures. Sparse yet striking arrangements making it perfect for a late night listen. It all fits together well making for an album that you can get into and stay with for the whole journey.

It seems like RA is something of an enigma, often flattering to deceive. His talent (and output) is prodigous and variable but on this release he's got his finger firmly on the quality control button. Recommended.
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on 24 June 2007
Cold Roses, Magnolia Mountain, "heading down the Cumberland River"in Let it Ride....the clues are all there ..its the reincarnation of the Grateful Dead with the great chameleon Ryan Adams at the helm. Irrespective of the "tribute" element in titles and style, Ryan Adams is one of the few writers to day to combine emotional depth with a gift for melody without appearing trite or superficial. In songs like "If I am a Stranger" and "Blossom", this understated ability has a transcendent quality, one which rewards repeated play. You can quibble with the number of songs in which the "rose" is the dominant theme but there's no doubt that this is Ryan Adams at the peak of his form. The ensemble playing of the Cardinals and the backing vocal harmonies are all outstanding. Highly recommended.
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on 15 September 2005
Ok, so I'm biased. Rock'N'Roll wasn't the best but I love the fact that he does just what he wants to do and still manages to write great songs. Someone tell me So Alive isn't a great song.
Anyway, whatever you thought of RnR Mr Adams has returned to wonderful form with Cold Roses. Echoes of Heartbreaker and Whiskeytown Pneumonia, these days I judge his albums by how much they make me cry. Sounds overly sentimental I know but Cold Roses contains some of the best things he's ever done. Songs like Friends and Now That You're Gone will break your heart. His tendency to change vocal stylings annoys some people but it works. Can't wait for the next album and I hope he'll just continue to do just what the hell he wants.
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on 7 October 2009
I listen to alot of music of all different kinds of genres, but if I had to pick 10 stranded on a desert island albums, this would definitely be one of them. It is such a beautiful work. The Cardinals frame Adams' songwriting and it keeps it from drifting all over the place like on some of his solo work, they are such a ridiculously tight band, completely on the same page. They have very few peers. In current popular American music, offhand I can only think of maybe Union Station and Ben Harper sporadically. This is really wonderful music. Definitely Adams' best and in my opinion, one of the best albums of all time. Every track has so many nooks and crannies of sound to discover and relish, it is truly a miraculous and deeply beautiful work.
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Ryan Adams is an overblown egomaniac. Ryan Adams is an underrated musical genius. Most listeners of his music fall into those camps, and the debate lives on. But one thing cannot be denied: Adams is a very good musician, and his brand of whiskey-soaked alt-country is in good form in "Cold Roses."

The two-disc album not terribly new territory, with echoes of "Heartbreaker," albeit more subdued. And as the first of three scheduled albums this year, with his new band the Cardinals, hopefully "Cold Roses" representative of what Adams is going to stick to in future. It's certainly what he's good at.

The songs here tend towards bluesy, midtempo rock, with countryish guitars and solid drums. The Cardinals are definitely a band that suit Adams' style, and they have a comfortable feel, as if they have been playing with him a long time. Songs like the gritty country song "Cherry Lane" are among the highlights of the album. There are also some slower, softer numbers like the poignant "How Do You Keep Love Alive," which balance out the more robust songs, and show the softer side of Adams' music.

Like many other two-disc albums, "Cold Roses" does suffer a little from double-disc syndrome, wherein some of the songs feel like they were put in to flesh out the tracklist. Fortunately, this is restricted to only a couple of songs. The majority of songs are strong and solidly written, with a well-worn sound like that of a comfortable slipper.

After a few years of experimentation -- through the deeply forgettable "Rock'N'Roll" and the lovely acoustic "Love is Hell" -- now Adams is back at his roots. The Cardinals are guitarists J.P. Bowersock, Cindy Cashdollar, bassist Catherine Popper, and drummer Brad Pemberton. They all do marvelously, especially since they are an experienced band, with prior work with people like Heather Nova, Hem, and past work with Adams himself.

Adams's voice is scratchier than in his past albums, but except for a few strained vocal moments, he sounds a bit world-weary but pleasant. He also gets joined by singer-songwriter/pianist Rachael Yamagata on three songs on the second disc, playing her instrument and lending her pretty voice to Adams' older, rougher one.

Bluesy country-rock is where Ryan Adams belongs, and he does well with his new band the Cardinals. Here's looking forward to Numbers 2 and 3 this summer and fall.
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on 1 May 2007
If you think Ryan Adams couldn't better himself after 'love is hell' then think again. Cold Roses is truely a brilliant record. Joined by his backing group the Cardinals, Adams manages to compose an double album which could easily hold it's own if it was simply released as a single album. While disc one could be refered to as 'the sombre disc', disc two is more upbeat, more musically than lyrically at times. Thats not to say that the Downbeat songs aren't worth listening to. The album opener 'Magnolia Moutain' gives an intoxicating taste of what disc one contains. Possibly the best on the first disc is the superb medowlake street which combines the world-wearyness evoked in track two: 'sweet illusions' with an epic build-up. The track also features Adams' most delacate vocal delivery since 'wild flowers' on the album, gold. While Disc two contains the usual songs about lost loves and failed relationships featured on disc one and all his albums. Adams offers a decent selection of regularly consistant and refreshing compositions. With the first track 'Easy Plateau' we find out singer needing to find a place of beauty and seclusion with a companion. Track two: 'Let it Ride' shows a much different side to Adams, one of self-presevation well expressed in the lyrics 'I wasn't ready to go, i'm never ready to go'. The best track on disc two is by far the album title track. It's a tremendous compostion with an stunning riff that sounds, at times like it's two people playing against one another, and Adams' raw vocals back the track up nicely. The song slowly lurches along with a slow to medium tempo, that combined with an impressively technical bridge at the end of the track adds up to make the track one of Adams' most addictive.

Fans of Gold and Love is hell would be the ones who this album appeals most to, however i would recommend it if you're a fan of Ryan, also to people who haven't heard his music. It will blow you away.
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