Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2. Jacksonville City Nights - Ryan Adams & the Cardinals (2005)

One of the few rules I placed on myself for this decade-spanning list is that an artist can only warrant multiple inclusions if he/she/they created something entirely different from their usual releases. In the case of Ryan Adams, my obvious favourite of the decade, the songwriter has never stood still long enough to garner the term “usual”. What is usual Ryan Adams? Alright, a few terms and anecdotes come to mind but let’s stick to the music and, better yet, the closest Adams has ever backpeddled to his Whiskeytown roots: Jacksonville City Nights. This is gorgeous country music, winking as always toward Gram Parsons, but littered with some of the finest arrangements Adams and the Cardinals ever created. Word has it Adams took a shot of whiskey before attacking each of these fourteen songs, which he claimed gave his voice an added smoothness, and the results don’t lie on this modern country classic, drenched in regrets.

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