Friday, September 23, 2005

I just had my first listen to Ryan Adams & The Cardinals' new Jacksonville City Nights CD and, like on this year's earlier Cold Roses double-album, Ry-Ry is once again exercising his country side. Opener A Kiss Before I Go is a traditional hurtin' country song with pedal steel, piano and violin. It's also one of the best cuts on the album. The Hardest Part uses strings while still shuffling along smartly, while pedal steel helps propel the lively My Heart Is Broken. Trains picks up momentum like a chugging locomotive, while Hard Way To Fall and Withering Heights are also standouts. Norah Jones duets with Adams on the piano-based Dear John, while Silver Bullets is another piano-based ballad. Much of the lyrical content is melancholy, and there are more than a few death references scattered through the album's 14 tracks. Like Cold Roses, I enjoyed Jacksonville City Nights, but didn't find it exceptional.

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