It would be a bit of an understatement to say that Ryan Adams’ career as a musician and singer-songwriter has been equal parts eclectic and prolific.
Releasing his fourteenth studio album in 14 years, the self-entitled “Ryan Adams” finds the alt-country pioneer exploring his roots, while also establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of contemporary rock and roll.
On the record, remnants of the sound that his former band, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, had solidified can be heard at times.
Still, Adams brings a distinct stylistic approach to the new material, as he does on all of his solo records.
Following 2011’s slow-burning and stripped-down acoustic effort, “Ashes & Fire,” this album is certainly a breath of fresh air for fans that were expecting a return to a bigger production.
“Ryan Adams” supplies just that as a full and diverse rock album.
The opening track and lead single, “Gimme Something Good,” sets the tone of the record, instantly beckoning comparison to Tom Petty, along with other similar 70s and 80s acts.
Adams admitted The Smiths and The Velvet Underground had an influence on the record, which, to various degrees, can be heard as well.
Some of the best moments are in the enchantingly melodic songs “Am I Safe,” or the Springsteen-esque “I Just Might.”
Others are quiet and bare like “My Wrecking Ball,” which could have been on his debut album, “Demolition,” or “Let Go,” also reminiscent of 2002’s “Demolition.”
“Ryan Adams” is an album for everyone. For fans, it’s a familiar yet new addition to an expansive music catalog. For new or casual listeners, it’s kind of like a greatest hits sampler –providing a taste of what Adams has to offer.