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Classic Album Review: Ryan Adams | Gold

The Whiskeytown frontman makes his solo debut with album that lives up to its title.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


As a sharper and more critical mind than mine recently put it, Ryan Adams is just one letter away from sucking. Luckily, that’s all he needs.

The former Whiskeytown leader returns to the major-label scene with his sophomore solo CD Gold, and as roots-pop albums go, it’s as good as its title. Slick, sweet, soulful and gracefully sophisticated, these 16 tracks are as warm and inviting as a fireplace, with the nasal-piped Adams — if you haven’t heard him before, imagine a young Neil Young — embracing a variety of ’70s songwriting styles. Answering Bell bounces to some Van Morrison folk-troubadourism; Rescue Blues is a piece of Elton Johnish piano balladry; Tina Toldeo’s Street Walkin’ Blues is a balls-out Let It Bleed knockoff. Whiskeytown fanatics and alt-country purists might sniff at the blatant ambition and commercial polish Adams is displaying, but I bet all the new fans he’s guaranteed to win over will keep his spirits up. Well, that and dating Winona Ryder. What a difference a letter makes.