June 21, 2007

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Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger
Lost Highway Records, 2007

Ryan Adams is too untouchably sultry and non-Canadian to become the next Neil Young in spite of how desperately Stephen King – yes, Maine’s most famous Random Simile Generator – wants him to be; perhaps he’s the Anti-Dan Fogelberg and we all need to hide in caves. True, Adams’ vocal vibrato runs into heavy turbulence more so during his guitar-burdened live performances than in the studio, but that doesn’t mean he’s ever going to drop his Ozzy albums and rush off to snap Sharpies in half writing songs about G8 Summit activists getting hosed down by The Man. Most people don’t have a problem with that, however, and if you’re the sort who just wants the pundits to bug off and leave you to your guilty alt-country pleasures at Starbucks, Adams’ ninth solo record will scratch your itch with hacksaw effectiveness. But wait, it gets even more underground: intense pressure from his inner nerd caused him to feign nostalgia for the nerd-salad days of his roundly nerd-lauded debut album Heartbreaker, so super-obscure outré-punk Sheryl Crow offers up her total non-giganticness for the big duet (“Two”), being that Emmylou Harris totally couldn’t be found for a reunion. B- — Eric W. Saeger