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Take it Easy



Ryan Adams
Easy Tiger
Lost Highway

As much as we all love to hate Ryan Adams, the volatile poster boy of alt-country has done it again with his latest effort Easy Tiger. Known for his erratic personality, alcohol and substance abuse and control-freak tendencies—he has been known to stop mid-song to confront audience members who are not enjoying the show politely (read: in silence)—Adams is an easy typecast for the antagonistic egotistical rocker. But it’s necessary to separate the art from the artist because regardless of his perennial haze of booze, pills and arrogance he consistently produces enthralling country-tinged rock lullabies and anthemic canyon stomps proving that his prolific songwriting talent is authentic, though perhaps fueled by substance. Easy Tiger begins with the same melancholic romance of 2005’s double album Cold Roses with “Goodnight Rose” featuring warbling vocals that recall a Harvest-era Neil Young and sweeping, twangy guitars setting the polished down-home tone of the album. Adams reverts to his rock roots on “Halloweenhead,” which has an infectious power-pop feel and lyrics about mischief and mayhem: “I’ve got a Hallowneenhead/head full of tricks and treats,” while he gets personal on the bleeding heart melodies of  “The Sun Also Sets,” singing about disappointment and regret with such gritty conviction it’s like he’s reading from a tear-stained journal entry. Come see Ryan Adams live when he plays Tuesday, July 24, at the Berkeley Community Theater, but just remember not to talk while Ryan’s singing.