Ryan Adams – 48 Hours

Ryan Adams is one of my long-term musical loves. I have a strange tendency for acoustic-based singer songwriters and I don’t really know why. The last album I purchased legally after I lost my original was Heartbreaker, his sublime solo debut. If you don’t have it – get it. Now. I’ll wait here while you do that.

How did you get on? Good. I know, it made me cry too. Like a little girl, with a pink dress and pigtails. Ahem.

Yeah, so. On top of his already HUGE discography with pre-fame band Whiskeytown plus the solo stuff, Ryan has tons of material that has never seen an official release. Clearly when he gets bored and has a little downtime to waste, rather than read a book or see a film he records albums. And remarkably, most of them are very good, but with a fatal flaw. Adams’ quality control has always been questionable at best and a lot of critics believe he has never released a beginning-to-end classic album. And I do admit, there is always a few skippable tracks on most of his stuff. The only albums that are perfect from start to finish are Heartbreaker and 48 Hours.

Clocks = 48 Hours. Get it? Come on, keep up.

48 Hours was recorded two weeks after his breakthrough album, Gold. What the fuck, dude? Two weeks? No basking in your glory there, eh? The album concerns Adams trying to make an honest, old-school country record. And he succeeds admirably. Just like Heartbreaker is an old fashioned folk record and Gold is a classic rock n’ roll (emphasis on the ‘n) record, this is in thrall to the Sun records/Gram Parsons sound.

Some of the tracks made their way onto the patchy Demolition with a better mix (ie with the sound level raised) and the beautiful Angelina was reworked into the yawneriffic Dance All Night on Cold Roses. But don’t let that put you off – thar be gold in them there hills. Blue has the slow grace and emotion of his best ballads, and One For The Rose is a fist punping, heart stopping swagger of a tune. Listening to this album all the way through creates a mood that all great country albums should – a feeling of loss, redemption and whiskey. Check for yo’self:

Ryan Adams – Karina

Ryan Adams – Like The Twilight

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