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Ryan & the Cardinals Cold Roses Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

Part of the beauty of Cold Roses lies in the effortless free-flowing rhythm of the...

Niky Daley 2005

Mr. Adams has a new band and he's going to keep them busy with three albums releases due this year alone. As if that wasn't enough material already, the prolific Adams is also fond of double albums with the nineteen track Cold Roses being the second consecutive two-disc release.

As you might expect the songs are guitar-heavy with Adams playing a Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel and a Valdez Snowtiger Custom, presumably not all at the same time. Add to the mix an electric guitarist and a steel/lap steel/resonator guitar. This simple but rich sound is then completed with drums, a bit of bass, occasional piano and harmonica.

On some tracks this results in a twanging country style, especially when paired with stereoptypical lyrics. "When Will You Come Back Home" already sounds like a country classic but tracks like "Rosebud" sound very atmospheric. Despite their sentimentality I prefer the down-tempo tracks like the poignantly pretty "Friends"-hear the pain in his voice! "Sweet Illusions" is another case in point, although this song is ballsier. Following on, "Meadowlake Street" is a real builder and one of his most anthemic tracks to date.

Part of the beauty of Cold Roses lies in the effortless free-flowing rhythm of the words coupled with bittersweet lyrics. As the title suggests life ain't a bed of perfumed flowers but it is gritty and full of passion. Adams' voice is as strong and versatile as ever on this album: soft and gentle in places but more strident in others. Despite this full range his voice still manages to sound distinctive throughout.

Interestingly, the songs are credited to the whole band, but they are no real departure from his previous works. It's a wonder how he manages to turn out so much decent material so quickly, but whilst the records are as good as this, you should grab them while you can.

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