3. Jacksonville City Nights (2005): The second of Ryan Adams’s three 2005 albums, Jacksonville City Nights is as much a genre exercise as Rock N Roll or Orion, except that the genre here is classic country, which is, obviously, not entirely distinct from the alt-country hybrid that Adams made his name on in the first place. Jacksonville City Nights may appear to be one of Adams’s lesser works, but his songwriting has never been sharper than it is here, and his laser focus serves him well: Borrowing from a genre built on melody and storytelling, Adams delivers some of his own best melodies and stories. Jacksonville City Nights is not necessarily joyful, but it is a joy to experience.

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