Wednesday , September 23 2020
If you love Ryan Adams at all, this is a wonderful release if you are able to get your hands on it - the live album will be available to purchase April 21.

Music Review: Ryan Adams – ‘Live at Carnegie Hall’

From the opening chords on his 2001 album, Gold, I knew that Ryan Adams was an artist that I could easily see myself following where his talent would take him. From there, of course, I found 2000’s Heartbreaker and even his work with Whiskeytown, which only served to solidify my opinion of him. After Gold and 2002’s Demolition, however, follow him is something I didn’t do.

Whether it was his flipping to a more rock sound on 2003’s Rock N Roll or the quiet desperation of 2004’s Love Is Hell all the way through his multiple releases with the Cardinals, as time went by, I found myself wistfully wondering where my love of Ryan Adams went. Here was this talented voice that I still enjoyed but nothing compelled me to listen past the things I already loved of his.

Ryan Adams - Live at Carnegie HallWhich is why I wasn’t sure why I so eagerly waved my hand to get noticed when the opportunity came to review his latest release, Live at Carnegie Hall. If I wasn’t sure whether or not Adams had anything worth saying – at least to me – artistically that the question of why I wanted to listen to the 42 songs that comprised this release should have been enough to make me second guess myself enough to ask that it be passed along to the next reviewer.

I’m glad it didn’t, needless to say.

While I still may wonder why I do not connect as strongly with many of his studio albums that followed from my initial discovery of him, everything that I dreamt might be on these songs are there – and in spades. Alone and confidently vulnerable on Carnegie’s stage, Ryan Adams’ voice and words are a thing of beauty.

Instead of the temperamental egomaniacal “talent” that every article seemed to paint him as, from my headphones and speakers poured forth the warmth of a shy man almost embarrassed by the songs he’s written and the affection people have for them. Indeed, for every powerful song that seems to bridge the gap between himself and the audience, there is always a self-effacing joke that immediately follows to break away any illusions that he considers himself worth being up there on such a historic stage.

At times it is the banter with the audience that is the most entertaining and revealing thing about this entire release. It allowed me to see a side of Adams that I’d never gotten to see. Add that to the songs that make up the two beautiful acoustic sets of this release – including favorites such as “Come Pick Me Up,” “Oh My Sweet Carolina,” and “New York, New York” – and you get a more complete image of the musician I thought I loved and had respect for nearly 15 years ago. It all takes me right back into that moment and loving his music all over again.

If you love Ryan Adams at all, this is a wonderful release if you are able to get your hands on it – the live album will be available to purchase April 21. The version I’ve been listening to is the digital release of the full 42 songs (two of which are new songs not performed or released on any other Adams records) but there is a super limited vinyl version, as well as a smaller and perhaps more palatable Ten Songs from Carnegie Hall CD, vinyl, and digital release for those looking for a little less time commitment.

As for me, the time was well worth committing. I cannot recommend this release enough and I sincerely hope that Mr. Adams brings his guitar and plays a show close to my neck of the woods … because I’m going. Definitely.

Tracklist:

01. “Gimme Something Good”
02. “Oh My Sweet Carolina”
03. “Damn, Sam (I Love a Woman That Rains)”
04. “My Winding Wheel”
05. “Trouble”
06. “Nobody’s Girl”
07. “On Broadway”
08. “Halloween”
09. “New York, New York”
10. “Please Do Not Let Me Go”
11. “Rats in the Wall”
12. “Why Do They Leave”
13. “Sylvia Plath”
14. “Crossed-Out Name”
15. “This Is Where We Meet in My Mind”
16. “If I Am a Stranger”
17. “Amy”
18. “English Girls Approximately”
19. “Avenues”
20. “Come Pick Me Up”
21. “Oh My Sweet Carolina”
22. “My Winding Wheel”
23. “Dirty Rain”
24. “My Wrecking Ball”
25. “New York, New York”
26. “Friends”
27. “Am I Safe”
28. “Ashes and Fire”
29. “Gimme Something Good”
30. “Why Do They Leave”
31. “Off Broadway”
32. “The Hardest Part”
33. “The Rescue Blues”
34. “Lucky Now”
35. “Dear Chicago”
36. “Desire”
37. “How Much Light”
38. “Firecracker”
39. “Kim”
40. “Call Me on Your Way Back Home”
41. “Black Sheets of Rain”
42. “Come Pick Me Up”

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2 comments

  1. How about the track list from the 42 song version and the ten song version?

  2. Oops! I guess I should have included the track lists in my original review. DUH. Thanks for adding them in Charlie.. and thanks for reading, Pete. If you get a chance to grab this it’s well worth the listen. — Michael