Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Jacksonville City Nights
Label: Lost Highway
Format: 2 x Vinyl, LP 180 Gram NEW
Has inner lyric sleeve
Genre: Folk, World, & Country, Rock
Style: Country Rock, Country
A1 A Kiss Before I Go
A2 The End
A3 Hard Way To Fall
A4 Dear John
B1 The Hardest Part
B3 Silver Bullets
B4 Peaceful Valley
C1 My Heart Is Broken
C4 Withering Heights
C5 Don't Fail Me Now
D1 A Kiss Before I Go (Demo)
D3 I Still Miss Someone
D4 Always On My Mind
With his latest release "Jacksonville City Nights," the speedy follow-up to last spring's outstanding double album "Cold Roses," ever-prolific singer/songwriter Ryan Adams, backed by the Cardinals, has gone all out and crafted his first full-fledged country album.
However, listeners need not prepare themselves for a drunken stupor after journeying through its 14 tracks. Sure, this is pure country, but Adams is talented enough to bend the genre just enough to still outrightly adhere to its foundations yet still satisfy his primarily alt-country/southern rock fanbase.
The LP opens with the splendid "A Kiss Before I Go," a bittersweet glimpse through a man's eyes at his present surroundings, which happens to include plenty of booze, while the singer/songwriter takes a long, hard look at his hometown of Jacksonville, SC on "The End." Chock full of thoughtful pianos, twangy guitars and slow-burning violins, both tracks were tailor-made for jukeboxes in bars out west, thus beginning the album perfectly.
Although he sings haphazardly about feelings of anxiety and being unable to cope with its effects, the raucous "Trains" is a rhythmic delight and the most easily accessible song on the collection, while lead single "The Hardest Part," waxes on the coming of age in the face of true love amidst delightfully discordant production and is a particularly excellent addition to Adams' catalogue.
Elsewhere, the wrenching ordeal of "Silver Bullets" is appropriately followed by "Peaceful Valley" a sincere yet tongue-in-cheek appeal to God to "take me home to the peaceful valley." Most wrenching of all, however, is "September," the story of a young woman who smiles before committing suicide. "My Heart Is Broken," a bittersweetly performed ode to an ended romance, could easily echo the viewpoint of her boyfriend, regretfully mourning his contribution to her demise.
Other standouts include "Dear John," a profoundly sad collaboration with Norah Jones, the intense "Don't Fail Me Now" and "Hard Way to Fall," which reveals that Adams truly has a knack for writing sentimental tunes that don't leave sap on your fingers.
"How she flips from the back to the front/Reading magazines/Oh my God, I miss those things/And it's a hard way to fall/And this ain't the easy way down/And it's a hard thing to love anyone, anyhow."
Overall, "Jacksonville City Nights" is an excellent addition to Adams' catalogue that proves yet again his uncanny talent to spring from genre to genre in his career with great ease and still create an abundance of top-notch quality music that has the power to enlighten as well as entertain. His next record is penciled in for a December release.