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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best record he has made in years!
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'...
Published on 14 Oct 2011 by Don Panik

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars one side better than the other
the story as old of records themselves & something Ryan seem to specialises in but when he gets it right he gets it right
Published 6 months ago by Richard Clark


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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best record he has made in years!, 14 Oct 2011
By 
Don Panik (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ashes & Fire (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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, he's back, 10 Nov 2011
By 
FastHand (Harefield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ashes & Fire (Audio CD)
I don't what demons has possessed Ryan as his albums since "Heartbreaker" and "Gold" certainly have'nt been up to the standards you would expect from a super song writer. I reluctantly purchased "Ashes and Fire" and was very pleasantly surprized. This album is beautifully produced by Glyn Johns famous for his work with the Stones and Dylan and it has certainly brought out the best in Ryan.The songs are of a very similar type all through, ballads and love songs, but because they are so well written it works beautifully. His voice comes from his gut through his heart to capture the honesty of the words that he sings as if he has lived every moment. I really loved this and hopefully he is now back on track and I can't wait to hear more, like the beautifully titled last track "I love you but I don't know what to say" get it and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ryan Adams - Less is more, 10 Oct 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Ashes & Fire (Audio CD)
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".

Out of the five remaining tracks three in particular show that spark which previously made Adams the dominant figure in alt country. "Invisible Riverside" would have happily fitted on "Gold" and is a paean to contentment with Mandy Moore the new Mrs Adams. He starts with the reflection "Guess I'll show my hand/Either way I'm losing/You still have the goods/Back when I couldn't use them" and builds it a gorgeous country lament. The single "Lucky now" is probably more in tune with the tradition of great songs on Whiskeytown's "Pneumonia" such as "Dont wanna to know why" and ably steered by the great producer Glyn Johns. Finally the albums closer "Love you but I don't know what to say" is one of Adams best love songs in a very long time and destined to be covered by all and sundry in the Nashville community. Ashes & Fire is an appropriate title for this album since it is mostly a languid slow burn with songs that gently reveal more on every listen. Throughout Ryan Adams is in great voice and this work demonstrates that real discipline which has been lacking in some of his previous work although the strange critical consensus in some parts that he ceased making great music after Gold is in the words of General Norman Schwarzkopf a load of "bovine scatology". In the last analysis this A&F is a very fine record that hints at even greater possibilities something which all connoisseurs of real music should celebrate and offer a quiet hurrah.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterclass, 3 Nov 2011
This review is from: Ashes & Fire (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 place.at 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Graham- Dorset, 2 Jan 2014
This review is from: Ashes & Fire (Audio CD)
Heard a track on the movie this is 40 and bought the album. Really good easy listening music he has a great voice and tracks are good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice and mellow, 22 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Ashes & Fire (Audio CD)
I like this album. There are some really nice, soft and sweet songs. As the music is delicate, it allows his voice to carry through more - and it carries emotion and compassion. If you fancy slowing the pace, entering a touch of stillness and softness, play this album.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stands the test of time, 14 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Ashes & Fire (Audio CD)
I keep coming back to this album and it always sounds fresh and surprising, and I am able to hear something different every time I listen to it. But the stand out feature is Adam's voice - the passion, tone and his rhythmic ability are wonderful deliverers of inspired lyrics.

I was tempted to give this a 5* rating, but I think we sometimes give these away too freely, so it is 4+ for sure. Highly Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely amazing!, 6 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Ashes & Fire (Audio CD)
Listened to Ryan Adams first on YouTube, seen this album realised, bought it and what a brilliant album!
Easy listening, relaxing, lovely voice can't wait for the next one to be released!

Would recommend to everyone!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fine return to form, 29 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Ashes & Fire (Audio CD)
I was starting to fear for Ryan Adams. In my opinion the last great album he made was 29. I never really warmed to Easy Tiger, less so to Cardinology and consequently I missed iii/iv altogether. Though the former two were decent offerings they failed to deliver in the way the artist had done with the likes of Love is Hell, Heartbeaker etc.
Having read many glowing reviews of this album I was drawn to buying it, believing a return to the glory days in the offing. I am not disappointed. On the first listening it sounded good, if unspectacular. However, the more I listen to it the more I love it. There are no weak songs on this album at all. Personal highlights being 'Rocks', 'Chains of Love', 'Invisible Riverside' and... damn! they're all good! 'Ashes and Fire' stands amongst the other albums mentioned here as a return to the real quality not seen from the artist in some years. Lets hope this is a pointer to the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What can be said, apart from terrific..., 22 Feb 2012
This review is from: Ashes & Fire (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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