With his three-album binge in 05, fans of Ryan Adams got to experience the impetuous singer-songwriters swings between hardcore country, rustic psychedelia, and bleak introspection on a grand scale. But all of them have blended together on his latest effort, Easy Tiger, and the result is the most concise and immediately satisfying solo record he has made since his 2000 debut, Heartbreaker.
"The last two years probably werent as intense as they should have been, Adams says. "Thats because making all this stuff was just really fun. I think everyone around me was up to the task of working hard, and because of that we managed to capture a lot of great songs that otherwise would have been lost.
Adamss main support throughout has been his band the Cardinals, and although he played many of the parts on Easy Tiger himself, he leans heavily on their almost Grateful Dead-like versatility and reliability. "A lot of these tunes I wasnt totally confident about at first, Adams says. "But the way I managed to live in them was to get input from those guys on which ones to do. They always picked the hardest ones, the ones with the heaviest emotional information, and that ultimately gave me a different perspective on the entire album.
That perspective is a more mature one, summed up best on Easy Tigers closing track, "Taught Myself How To Grow Old, a poignant confession that Adams is prepared for the long haul, much like Willie Nelson, whom he produced last year. "Thats the song I was waiting for, and I think I wrote it in about five minutes, he says. "I believe that artists shouldnt be afraid to do what others might perceive as missteps. Those always seem to precede an epiphany, and that song was an epiphany for me.