It’s with great fanfare that Ryan Adams’ highly anticipated new album, Ashes and Fire, is released this week. The past two years have found Adams basking in the glow of marriage to Mandy Moore (who makes some guest appearances on this album), conquering some damaging dependencies, and struggling to combat Meniere’s disease. A few years before that, a stage fall and subsequent wrist injury forced him to completely relearn the guitar. So, needless to say, life is never dull for Adams, and he is back with a sparsely elegant album full of the acoustic balladry that has taken him about as far into rock stardom one can get these days.
This ‘50s inspired black and white video that accompanies first single, “Lucky Now”, finds Adams alternating between periods of brooding introspection while performing the song and then later navigating the vintage boulevards of a throwback Los Angeles in a fine looking classic car while being suspiciously eye-balled by a group of tatted-up, letter jacket clad cuties. The “Fire” of the album’s title is well-represented as both the burner on the stove and the fire in the fireplace is left alone to engulf Adams’ house in flames as he dismissively leaves through the front door. What’s less unclear is whether the gal pack from the street, wracked by vengeful thoughts, is partially responsible for the arson. Regardless, the imagery suits the regretful longing of the song’s tone well, and Adams’ voice is in fine form throughout.