Album Reviews

Ryan Adams – Live at Carnegie Hall – Album Review

Ryan Adams Carnegie

Ryan Adams – Live at Carnegie Hall – Album Review by Killian Laher

The ultra-prolific Ryan Adams recently released a collection of live performances – Live At Carnegie Hall. Available as a ten song sampler or six-LP deluxe addition, this is not just any live album. It’s Ryan Adams at his most unadorned, which for some, is their prefererred incarnation of Mr Adams. Accompanying himself mainly on acoustic guitar with occasional piano (Sylvia Plath) and harmonica, the collection is drawn liberally from across his back catalogue, plenty of selections from Heartbreaker and even a dip into Whiskeytown material (Avenues). Recent material from his self-titled album (Trouble, Am I Safe) works really well played solo without his band.

The album should be hard going and a bit same-y but it isn’t – this is mainly down to the performances, there is a lightness of touch, and almost carefreeness which allows the songs to really breathe. There’s plenty of between song banter and the man sounds relaxed and good-humoured, but the focus is on the songs, which happily these days, is what Ryan Adams is all about. It’s beautifully recorded which means it sounds as good as any of his studio albums, in fact, many of these versions are superior to their studio counterparts.

 

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