Ryan Adams and the Cardinals Cardinology

March 16 2009, 8:30 AM EDT Aubrey Welbers

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals Cardinology

Ryan Adams And The Cardinals - Cardinology

Released: October 28, 2008 Lost Highway

With the Cardinals holding steadfast by his side, Ryan Adams asserts a distinctly Americana ethos into dynamic, woven layers of rock on Cardinology, showcasing the diverse range of this prolific songwriter and his backing band. The record carries more of a timeless rock ’n’ roll tinge than the alt-country motivation behind either of the band’s 2005 albums, Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights. Album opener “Born Into A Light” begins with a concise, assertive guitar progression with a subdued pedal steel humming behind it. “Go Easy” is soft and reassuring, getting your heart worked up with warm fuzzies before the transition into the deep, sultry blues of “Fix It.” At the peak of Cardinology’s Everest is “Magick,” a rollicking guitar jam that could sneak its way onto any early Rolling Stones set list without a flinch.

The record’s downward descent is not without Adams’ quintessential sleepy moments, however. The timid ballad “Evergreen” loses its slow momentum once the monotonous chorus hits. But before the record wanes too much, there is “Cobwebs.” Simple pulsating guitars followed by a steady beat weave bleeding-heart lyrics into what will be a profound chapter in the Cardinals’ live set, thereby assuring that Adams is more than just prolific—he’s damn talented, too.

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