Review: Ryan Adams, ‘Ashes and Fire’

Review: Ryan Adams, ‘Ashes and Fire’: Aidin Vaziri | The early word on “Ashes and Fire” was that Ryan Adams had finally worked through his interminable Grateful Dead phase, having come out of it ready to reclaim the ragged brand of Americana he minted nearly a decade ago with albums like “Heartbreaker” and “Gold.” Not quite. The new record’s centerpiece, “Do I Wait,” is a hell of a song, one of Adams’ classic late-night meditations floating over a bed of warm acoustic guitars and swirling B3 organs. But the rest of the album feels tentative, as the 36-year-old Adams comes to terms with his unruly past in tremulous ballads like “Dirty Rain” and “Invisible Riverside.” On “Lucky Now,” the now sober songwriter laments, “I feel like somebody I don’t know/ Are we really who we used to be? Am I really who I was?” It’s a step in the right direction.

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