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Follow the Lights

Joe here. I've been away for a while keeping up with school, but I've got a handful of new albums to post on now, so you'll be hearing from me a little more.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals are back from a 4-month break (a long time for Ryan) with a new EP, Follow the Lights.

Easy Tiger, released late June (my review here), was a great album, but it was not quite in keeping with the style that Ryan and the Cardinals have been developing since Cold Roses (Ryan has since said that the record was produced under pressure from his label and not the album he wanted to make). Carried through Jacksonville City Nights and in excellent form on Willie Nelson's Songbird (my review here), the Cardinals' sound is something like a mist of guitars adorned by two- or more-part harmony on the choruses.

On Easy Tiger, which was a collection of different styles that Ryan's played from time to time, from the folk of "Pearls on a String" to what the critics like to call "stadium rock" on "Halloweenhead," a minority of the songs (three, maybe four) really sound like a logical progression from what the Cardinals had been playing before. Indeed, on tour Ryan and the Cardinals have been playing the songs from Tiger in a style that makes more sense given their previous albums.

Follow the Lights returns to their style as it has been evolving. From Cold Roses to Jacksonville, they backed off a little on the guitars, and Lights is a clear progression from Jacksonville by way of "Two" off of Tiger. There are only a couple new songs (the others from previous albums or unreleased sessions that get passed around online), "Follow the Lights" and "My Love For You Is Real", but all the songs benefit from being re-recorded by the Cardinals as they refine their style. It's also nice to have a Ryan & the Cardinals recording of "Blue Hotel," a song that Ryan wrote for Willie's Songbird, which he produced and the Cardinals played on.

If you're new to Ryan, or you haven't been sure up to now, Follow the Lights is a great place to start: it's short and focused, it's got a great selection of songs with no real weak points. If you aren't new to Ryan, you need to buy this EP now. Of course, anybody who isn't new to Ryan probably doesn't need to be told that.

Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Follow the Lights (download or die)
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - This Is It (strongly recommended)

Buy Follow the Lights from Amazon.
Download Follow the Lights from Amazon.

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