Sunday Sounds – Ryan Adams – Ashes and Fire

Every Sunday we’ll recommend you a classic album to go back and listen to, helping you to finish off your week in the right way. This week it’s the calmly brilliant ‘Ashes and Fire’ by Ryan Adams.

The album opens with ‘Dirty Rain’, which sets the tone for the remainder of the track listing; this is certainly one of Adams’ more tranquil records. The song is dashed with fantastic lyricism and vocals that are delivered with a lot of soul. The chorus in particular really fires the track into life and plays out as a fantastic starting point.

The title track ‘Ashes and Fire’ is definitely one of the most upbeat moments of the record. The constant acoustic chord progression that fills the song works well with the descriptive, story-telling style lyrics that Adams has come to be known for. Ryan Adams drew in comparisons to Bob Dylan when he released his first album and it’s fair to say that Dylan was a likely influence here.

The song ‘Do I wait’ is likely to sound the most familiar to you if you’ve heard Ryan’s other work and it features some of the best lyrics on the entire album. The record has a minimalistic sound throughout it’s runtime but this track builds upon it’s sound as it progresses. The electric guitar solo that rips its way into the song around the 2:30 mark is a moment that fully pays off and it’s this kind of sound that you can tell likely led Adams down the path to his 2014 self-titled record.

‘Chains of Love’ is a perfectly uplifting moment and one of the most important pillars of the albums structure. The shortest song on here but it really shows the strengths to Adams’ relentless song writing abilities. It’s the best song on the record and one of the finest moments in Ryan Adams’ huge musical back catalogue. This track has everything: fantastic lyrics, magically melodic guitar playing and an overall sound that sends your mind to another place entirely.

The song that you’re most likely to have heard even if you don’t own this record is ‘Lucky Now’. This track shows Ryan at the top of his game when it comes to songwriting. With an enormously memorable chorus and verses that paint an everlasting picture in the mind of the listener, you’ll have this song stuck in your head all day when you listen to it but, you certainly won’t catch yourself complaining about it.

Album closer ‘I Love You but I Don’t Know What to Say’ is tremendously tender and wears every emotion on it’s sleeve. The soft piano interludes sound definitive and add an extra element to the song; the drumming is faint but works fantastically well here and throughout the entirety of the record.

Ryan Adams Ashes and Fire
Ashes and Fire by Ryan Adams

‘Ashes and Fire’ is not to be missed and if you didn’t catch it originally when it released in 2011, now is the perfect time to introduce yourself to it and start your year off with a great album by one of the best songwriters of our time.

Finish your week the right way by listening to this brilliantly soothing record on Spotify here. Check back next Sunday for our next weekly recommendation and expect more content to be posted as usual throughout the week.

All words by Jared Musson.
Image sourced from Spotify.

Jared Musson

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