I wasn’t much into the alt country thing until I met my wife. I’m still not the huge fan she is, but I’ve found a lot of stuff in the vicinity I enjoy. By far the biggest discovery for me was Whiskeytown, which made some flawless, classic albums back in the ’90s. (Get Faithless Street and Strangers Almanac, you won’t be sorry.)

After he went solo, Whiskeytown singer/songwriter Ryan Adams embarked on a slow descent. His first, Heartbreaker, was great, even a rival to the band’s material. Then Gold was less good, and more bloated, and from then on the albums just got way too frequent and way too uneven. Adams’ drunkenness and erratic behavior didn’t inspire confidence.

Anyhoo, I’m happy to report that Adams’ latest, Easy Tiger, is his best in years, by a wide margin. He seems to have calmed down some, spent some more time on the songs, and gotten some steadiness and strength from his backing band the Cardinals.

This is track six, “Tears of Gold.”

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