Editors’ Notes When Ryan Adams split with his backing band The Cardinals and started releasing heavy metal circa 2010, his future as one of alt-country's most enduring crooners seemed up in the air. Ashes & Fire laid all doubts to rest, though: it's one of Adams' most focused albums and arguably his best since his solo debut, Heartbreaker. The record stays in a warm, delicately instrumented pocket: the drums are mostly brushed, the guitars are mostly acoustic, and Adams' voice has a relaxed Topanga Canyon lilt to it. When a song like "Do I Wait" swells with Hammond organs and electric guitars, it's like a comet shooting across a starry sky. Highlights abound, but the 1-2-3 punch of "Save Me," "Kindness," and "Lucky Now" is simply breathtaking.

SONG
Dirty Rain
1
4:18
 
Ashes & Fire
2
3:45
 
Come Home
3
4:50
 
Rocks
4
2:58
 
Do I Wait
5
3:53
 
Chains of Love
6
2:23
 
Invisible Riverside
7
4:44
 
Save Me
8
4:18
 
Kindness
9
4:30
 
Lucky Now
10
2:52
 
I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say
11
4:10
 
Star Sign (Bonus Track)
12
5:26