Ryan Adams- Easy Tiger (Lost Highway)

The Arts — By on August 2, 2007 at 12:52 pm

It used to be hard to be a Ryan Adams fan. From 2001 to 2003, the man was everywhere that music fans went- magazines would get in line to blow smoke up his rectum, seemingly for no reason except that he writes songs at a phenomenal rate and has cool hair (I think he nailed Winona Ryder around that time, too… but that really didn’t show that he was any better than Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum). All of this, combined with the fact that Gold (2001), Demolition (2002), Love Is Hell (2003) and Rock N Roll (2003) really weren’t anything more than material for mixtapes, OD’d most rock fans on Adams for a time. It got him a fan base, but he wisely took 2004 off after falling off a stage in Liverpool. That’s when the good part began.

Easy Tiger is the 2007 version of Ryan Adams. It is a timeless collection in step with his previous two records: the excellent Jacksonville City Nights and the possibly career-defining Cold Roses (we’ll pretend that the misfire 29 never happened… after all, we were still too busy absorbing the other three CD’s of material homeboy dropped on us that year to really care). “Goodnight Rose” is alt-country 101- a perfect way to begin. “Two” shows stately restraint from Adams’ excellent backing band The Cardinals (now featuring singer/songwriter Neal Casal on guitar) and doesn’t overstay its welcome. I have no clue what a “Halloweenhead” is, but Adams has one and he wrote a pretty cool rock and roll song about it. While the album does lose some steam down the back end, Easy Tiger is easy listening, not high art- and sometimes that’s all you need. It seems like a suitable soundtrack to a summer night’s get-together: the wine flows, stories are told, laughs are shared. You bring a twelve-pack, your buddy brings the chips, and Ryan Adams brings Easy Tiger. I propose a toast.

RATING (1-10): 7.5

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