Quick Review (LP): Cold Roses by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams
Cold Roses
Lost Highway; 2005

My Rating: A (95/100)

Best Tracks: "Magnolia Mountain", "When Will You Come Back Home", "How Do You Keep Love Alive", "Easy Plateau", "Let It Ride", "Cold Roses", "Friends"

Adams embraces mountain jams and Allman joy.


  • I love the groove of "Magnolia Mountain", and the lyrics ain’t bad either.
  • "Sweet Illusion" is a totally lovely moment. Great chiming guitars.
  • Man, "Meadowlake Street" – so GOOD! It’s like Adams was saving up all of his best stuff for one record.
  • The melody and looseness of "When Will You Come Back Home" make it the kind of track that causes your eyes to roll back in their head. Bliss. Peaceful, easy…
  • The Cardinals were one hell of a band. I don’t think there’s been an album that sounds this easy and grand on the country-rock scene since The Eagles’ debut.
  • Love the dobro on "Cherry Lane" – Cindy Cashdollar, that’s a name for a country musician!
  • Good grief, "Easy Plateau" sounds like they are recording in mountain caverns on the edge of the Garden of Eden. Breath-taking.
  • "Let It Ride" is a cruiser. "Moving like the fog on the Cumberland River/I was leaving on the Delta Queen/And I wasn’t ready to go/I’m never ready to go…"
  • "Friends" closes things out on a big, wide open pasture. Glorious.
  • Memorable lyrics, top notch melodies, ace performances, and lush instrumentation abound. This is a gloriously nostalgic and sprawling masterpiece, and the start of a new day for Adams.
  • AMG says "It’s not the sound of somebody striving to save rock & roll, or even to be important, but that’s precisely why this is the easiest Ryan Adams to enjoy." I think that about sums it up. He apparently rode a tidal wave of credibility from his Whiskeytown days on into his first handful of solo records, and flashes of genius along the way were enough to keep listeners attentive. In all reality, though, this is the first great album of Adams’ career, a record where he lets off the accelerator and eases into a southern rock groove. The truth is, he doesn’t lose a bit of what’s been good about Ryan Adams up to this point either. Lovely, rockin’, twangy, and pastoral all at once. Maybe we can just consider those first five records public test runs?

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Songs (5/5)

Quick Review (LP): Shame Shame by Dr. Dog

Dr Dog Shame Shame.jpgDr. Dog
Shame Shame
Anti/Epitaph; 2010

My Rating: B+

Best Tracks: “Stranger”, “Where’d All The Time Go?”, “Unbearable Why”

Saw these guys live back in 2004, and at that time I was really into The Band, so it all made perfect sense. Bought their first CD (Toothbrush), which turned me off, because back then I didn’t do lo-fi. Since then, they’ve released a lot of stuff, and since this one is really pretty good, it seems I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Their appeal still abides in that same good-time/goofball, working class, folk-rock category, and what’s more I don’t detect one iota of hipsterism here. I appreciate that. These guys are increasingly making AOR sourced from all the right influences, from The Beatles to The Eagles to Boston. When it all comes down to it, this one ain’t gonna blow your mind, but in my estimation, it should provide several repeated listens worth of classic rock bliss.

Wikipedia on the album (good writeup)
Pitchfork review
Paste review
Metacritic reviews
Band website