Over the 11 years since his first solo album apart from Whiskeytown, Adams has released 13 albums that range from absolutely fantastic, to pretty good. I’ve tended to be more of a fan of his solo stuff verses those with The Cardinals, but I still absolutely love Cardinology and the others.
All that said brings me to his newest effort, Ashes & Fire, which I feel brings Adams full circle and reminisces more with the kind of work he did on Heartbreaker.
The opening track starts off with a simple and quiet guitar riff that is soon accompanied with piano and then finally a drum beat with Adams signature singing. The song builds slowly and deliberately and really sets the tone for the rest of the album as something mild yet extremely melodic. Adams has always been a singer songwriter who always manages to know the right direction to take his songs for the best emotional high. His vocals throughout this album are beautiful, haunting at times, and always spot on with the tone of the song and of the album.
The title track is another example of Adams treading familiar territory without repeating himself. He isn’t inventing the wheel with this album yet luckily it doesn’t feel like he’s copying himself either. All the songs feel fresh and the more I listen to this as an album whole the more I appreciate its subtle complexities with tone and emotion.
Ashes & Fire is my favorite album of Adam’s in the last few years and easily one of my top albums of the year so far.
Album Rating: 4.5 / 5
Album Review by: Mark.HaTe