Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

In recent weeks, we’ve heard plenty of new songs, in various forms, from Ryan Adams: “Lucky Now,” “Ashes & Fire,” “Invisible Riverside,” “Dirty Rain,” “Chains Of Love.” All those tracks seem to promise a return to form, and now the entire new album Ashes & Fire is out there, streaming in full at NPR’s website. So: What do you guys think? Are we back in Heartbreaker territory now? Has the man finally learned to edit out the bad ideas and let the good ones shine? Or is this just something he knocked out when his vintage-arcade-games collection started to get boring? Leave your thoughts in the comments section. This is, after all, a comment party.

Ashes & Fire is out 10/11 on Pax-Am/Capitol.

Comments (25)
  1. Easily his best album since the three albums he released in 05. Def back to Heartbreaker form.

  2. Best thing since Easy Tiger, it reminds me of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.

  3. Yes, best since 29!

  4. i’m trying to not to listen to it until i have the actual copy in my hands but the 3 songs i’ve heard so far are excellent and the 2 comments above me make me really happy

  5. It’s gorgeous. Better than Easy Tiger and Cardinology (both of which I really liked) and at least on a par with 29 (<— seriously high praise).

  6. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it has re-entered him into ‘Heartbreaker’ territory, but it definitely is a return worth celebrating; That’s obviously purely based on only one day’s worth of listening. Oh and “Do I Wait” is one hell of a jam.

  7. sounds like a more muted Gold or perhaps a Gold-Heartbreaker hybrid. Either way- it is easily his best album since the trio of 2005.

  8. I really hope Ryan Adams keeps this up, releasing a really amazing record every 7-10 years. His career has a Neil Young feel to it, and I like that.

  9. It’s all opinion but I’m a HUGE Ryan Adams fan and this is my favorite album of his. I know it’s bold to say that but this album is just so… perfect.

  10. I love this album a ton! Heartbreaker and Easy Tiger are my favorite albums of his and this rivals both of them. It is truly something great! If you doesn’t win awards than i will have lost all faith in humanity!

  11. I’m not sure why people keep saying ‘is this a return to form?’, when did Ryan Adams stop making good music? I never heard that period, every album has been great, I may not like every album which is different I certainly don’t hold 29 in esteem and yet I can still see why it’s good. Forget III/IV, that’s a collection of jams/experiments and oddities, not really a proper album.

    Love is Hell = Amazing, texturally and lyrically.

    Demolition = another collection of outtakes, and some REALLY good sweet songs.

    Jacksonville City Nights = A Great country album, which was his roots.

    Cold Roses = Acoustic roots/america rock, if this was an album made by the Grateful Dead or America (the band that did Horse with No Name) it would be rated more highly. Oh and did I add, this is a GREAT set of songs, Easy Plateau, Magnolia Mountain, wow…

    29 = A set of experimental story type songs, again in the country vein. Nothing wrong with it, I can listen to it, just not my favourite. Certainly not ‘out of form’. I expect country from Adams, I expect these kind of songs, even if they don’t match my tastes. I respect Ryan’s muse and artistic vision.

    Easy Tiger = Another great match of country and rock.

    I don’t need to make a case for Heartbreaker or Gold.

    What’s funny is that Ryan Adams is a country / classic rock artist, and has said he loves country music and his grandparents got him into it, so when he makes Goodnight Rose, Jacksonville City Nights, or 29, people act shocked. I don’t hear any ‘losing form’ when listening to Heartbreaker or JCN, both country albums. I can hear a trace of country in nearly everything he touches, I don’t understand what troubles people, are we hearing two different people? Did Ryan promise you guys something which you didn’t get? A country / rock artist writing great songs. I’ve heard that every step of the way (putting III/IV and Orion to one side, lol) and so hear no ‘return to form’ only ‘continuing the form’. Ashes and Fire is another nice set of songs, sure I may not like every one, yet it’s still does what it says on the tin.

    Return to form, ha, most bands would give an arm and a leg to write something like Dear John, Sweet Illusions, or Two Hearts. Keep doing your thing Ryan.

  12. Agreed. This is just another great chapter to already amazing collection of albums.

  13. “7.6″ – Pitchfork

  14. Beautiful and heartfelt…I have listened 5 times and it keeps getting better. I usually like songs with more edge but this album seems so genuine and nothing is forced and he seems to have nothing to prove but to make good music!

  15. you guys are nuts. Heartbreaker was rad. Gold mostly sucked. rock N roll was unlistenable. The three in 2005 were pretty good, especially jacksonville city nights.. Love and Hell was very spotty and Easy tiger was Garbage. With that said, this album is okay. But Adams isn’t anywhere near the level of the best musicians in indiedom anymore. He’ll never get back to those whiskeytown-heartbreaker days again. But even those records had some duds. He never really was able to make a true classic record. So yeah. He stopped making good music quite a while a go. Return to form. Sure. But still. pretty mediocre in the grand scheme of things.

    • Not true….this man has written many incredible songs and is the only exciting musician who continues to keep alt-county genre alive…Wilco left that scene years ago! I realize that it is hard to not judge any new album of his and take it for what it is without looking at everything that came before, however too many critics can’t seem to get past his side projects when evaluating a new release…this is not Rock N roll – and this stands alone as a complete set of beautiful songs…this is a focused piece of work that is not so much a return to form but Ryan realizing his potential in an easy and almost effortless sounding fashion. There is nothing he has to prove because he is what he is…one hell of a singer and song writer!

  16. Why did I think this was a “I wont like it” band for me?? ITS AMAZING!!!

  17. I love this new album!! Way to go Ryan!

  18. “Edit out the bad ideas”. Are you serious? Are we listening to the very same Ryan Adams? I have everything he’s recorded to date (except the latest) and can’t find a bad idea among them. I’m pretty confident, from what I have heard off the new album, that it will be like everything else he’s done. PURE DEAD BRILLIANT!!!!

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