There was a period there in the mid aughts where Ryan Adams was releasing a new album every other week. From anybody else, this would seem silly and self-indulgent, but considering the kind of music Adams generally makes, it was a godsend. I'll readily admit that his 2004 epic Love Is Hell -- which was originally dismissed by Lost Highway records as being so tragic and mournful that no one would want to hear it -- has been a constant companion to me over the past year-and-a-half or so, as I was forced to watch helplessly as my relationship with my wife disintegrated all around me. Songs like Political Scientist, Afraid Not Scared, Avalanche and The Shadowlands are just elegiac masterpieces of loss, damage and grief.
In late 2005, Adams released his solo follow-up to Love Is Hell (he put out two albums with the Cardinals in between) called 29. On that album were a couple of the most gorgeous songs of the decade -- Night Birds and Elizabeth, You Were Born To Play That Part. Hearing this music, thinking back to when it first came out -- what my life looked like then -- it still opens a hole inside my chest.
Here are two from Ryan Adams -- Political Scientist and Night Birds.