On Record Reviews
(Lost Highway) If former Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams' last album, Heartbreaker, was a nice Berber carpet - sturdy, natural, grainy – his new album, Gold, is more akin to a decent priced Persian rug – elaborate, intricate, smoother. This ain't to say that the brooding darling of alt-country has left his trademark roots-rock rumble behind him. The Berber is still there, but a nice kilim has just been layered on top. There are still patches of his overcast voice; there are still nasty, indelible stains of heartache strewn around; and his down-home sound still weaves in and out. But the songs on Gold show Adams emancipating himself further from the easily pigeonholed genre of "alt-country," a weaning that started with Heartbreaker and Whiskeytown's farewell, Pneumonia. His sound on Gold is a sonic amalgam of folk, rock, and blues. On tracks like "Street Walkin Blues" and "Firecracker," Adams can pass as a Rolling Stones doppelganger circa their Sticky Finger years. Other songs conjure up Bob Dylan after he went electric. Like many maturing artists, Adams has woven more hues and patterns into his veritable rug of music, even scattering some throw rugs around for added variety.