Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker

ARTIST: Ryan Adams          220px-RyanAdamsHeartbreaker

TITLE:  Heartbreaker




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)

LINEUP: Ryan Adams, Ethan Johns, David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Pat Sansone. Emmy Lou Harris, Kim Richey and Allison Pierce do backing vocals on one song each.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After Whiskeytown slowly imploded, Adams starts his solo career with a set that fits right in with what his band was doing at the end.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The slow, sad demise of Whiskeytown birthed Adams’ solo career, and realistically, the last Whiskeytown album was pert near a solo album anyway.

This is a pretty standard alt-country record, featuring Adams’ aching heart love songs or pleading heart love songs (and some other songs about being young, etc.). There’s a lot of great stuff here, like “My Winding Wheel”, “Oh My Sweet Carolina” (featuring Emmylou Harris) and “Come Pick Me Up” (featuring great vocals from Kim Richey). “Amy” is just gorgeous.

Adams, even then, was very prolific (just look at bonus cuts on a couple of Whiskeytown releases), and that’s to this album’s detriment. Amidst the great stuff, there’s some mediocre material that could have been left for B-sides. Trimming 10 to 12 minutes wouldn’t be that hard, and it’d be a better, more compact album.

Still, Adams was off to a great start on his solo career as the highlights of this album show.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The album starts with an argument on what album “Suedehead” by Morrissey was on. It’s on both Bona Drag and Viva Hate, BTW.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: In France (not Japan, believe it or not!)

GRADE: B+. When you look at the tracks left on the album after about 10 to 11, that’s a sign the record’s too long.


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