Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: Cardinology (Lost Highway)

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Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: Let Us Down Easy
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: Cardinology (Lost Highway)

The prolific Adams returns with his longtime band with a collection of songs which are often downbeat and reflective, but have a quietly inspirational quality behind the pains of love and pondering The Big Questions.

On Let Us Down Easy, a gentle plea to God to be sympathetic to our weakness, he gets a little gospel feel going -- but at the other end of the spectrum Magick (the weakest cut here) peels of a bit of the old Subterranean Homesick Blues/Pump It Up/We Didn't Start the Fire chant-sing for a politically fiery rant.

But it is the more considered and optimistic songs which are the real winners: the country-framed opener Born Into Light with its easy sway and intimate tone ("be patient, the past is just a memory"); the big chested ballad Go Easy; Evergreen which reminds me of Keith Carradine's sensitive singer-songwriter schtick in Nashville; the reflective Yesterday; the piano ballad Stop right at the end which advises the hurting listener to slow down, be assured that help is at hand, that healing begins within . . . 

Adams has often seemed too prolific for his own good, but this often gentle album stands among his best.

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Ian - Dec 19, 2008

Maybe it's all the reviews saying this is a return to "Gold" territory? I don't know. But this is a long way short of the timeless rock album that Gold will be.

Martin - Jul 23, 2009

Cardinology,Adam's last album even though I only listened to it for a week,library loan,reminded me of it's predecessor Easy Tiger.In that Adams,has chosen his crisp country rock avenue,of which he is very good at.It also reminded me of Easy Tigers number of standout songs and the same startling success of his very best songs.Comparing his music album to album is made a little complicated by adjustments in approach each time.Even Cold Roses is patchy but you get over it quickly because the best of the discs holds up to my ear to be probably the best of its genre.Adams doesn't always walk on water though according to some critics as I recently read a poor review of his Takapuna gig a few years back.I found the show just fine,even quite experimental as the juicy guitar workouts between the three got psychedelic and that voice was prime.He is a rare talent who always tried to do things his way and if his,believe it or not recent sobriety,extends his career then we are better off.

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