I am making some good progress on my facilitator’s guides today and, so far, there have been no work-related arguments, accidents or fatalities reported among my team members. Yay! That must mean then that my current stress-busting vinyl selection is working, the ‘Heartbreaker‘ album by Ryan Adams.
Yup, I’m leaped straight from “the Haight” to “the Hair” with this next selection; from 60’s psychedelia to New Millennium Americana.
‘Heartbreaker’ is the debut solo studio album by Ryan “The Hair” Adams, released September 5, 2000 on Bloodshot Records. The album was recorded over fourteen days at Woodland Studios in Nashville, Tennessee and nominated for the 2001 Shortlist Music Prize. The album is said to be inspired by Adams’ break-up with music industry publicist Amy Lombardi.
At the time, the Hair was 25, stuck in a small town, getting over a failed relationship, and trying to work out what the hell to do with his life – so you just know it’s gonna be all sappy n’ shit.
Right up my alley, of course.
It’s a fucked-up cocktail of Steve Earle, Gram Parsons , a liberal dose of Elliot Smith, and a wee touch of Robyn Hitchcock for good measure. By turns raucous, wistful, raspy, and simply sweet, Adams makes the most of a top-shelf acoustic band, including Gillian Welch and David Rawlings and even a guest spot from Emmylou Harris on the tenderly yearning ‘Oh My Sweet Caroline‘. There’s little dependence on the usual alt-country twang and a far more rounded sense of textures here (the multiple vocal tracks on ‘Amy‘, for example, sound Beatles-esque), with glockenspiel, organ, and more signaling a sonic field of extensive depth. His spare guitar and stretched-thin vocal delivery alternate smartly with a bigger-shouldered guitar and throaty voice, never leaving behind a band conception straight out of Parsons’s oeuvre.
The start off track ‘To Be Young‘ is a terrific up-tempo number, ‘My Winding Wheel‘ has a hint of Paul Westerberg (compare this to ‘It’s A Wonderful Lie‘ from the last Westerberg solo) and, rather curiously, calls to mind ‘Wonderwall‘ by Oasis. In fact, most of the highlights on the album are the slower acoustic numbers like ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina‘, ‘Come Pick Me Up‘ and ‘In My Time of Need‘. Perfect for keeping the work-related stress levels at bay. However, there is the odd rocker thrown in for good measure, like ‘Shakedown on 9th Street‘ that keep it from being “all-shoot-me-in-the-face” sad.
Great rainy day Hump Day in Corporate Hell listening fodder.
And if it keeps me from murdering anyone then so much the better!