Ryan Adams has an encyclopedic knowledge of classic rock and he can press those influences into service wherever he sees fit. His songwriting has often had a comforting familiarity to it, with guitar riffs and melodies that hint towards past glories. With an tight efficient band behind him in the Cardinals, whose pedal steel master Jon Graboff deserves special distinction, Adams delivers this tight, focused 12 song collection. “Born into the Light” begins things with a gorgeous placidity, a lulling sense of sunshine that’s further reflected in the lyrics where an anxious young man settles into the calm perspective of middle age. The modest funk of “Fix It” turns towards R&B, with guitarist Neal Casal (a deserving solo artist himself) adding an extra edge. “Magick” crashes a few guitar chords for a look towards Adams’ punk roots with global apocalypse hanging over the exultant beat. By the time Adams arrives at the piano ballad “Stop,” he’s bleeding all over the tracks, determined to turn his often controversial life around to something he can manage over the long haul.

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