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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Demolition


(Lost Highway Records)
Released on 9/24/02


"I don’t much care for this record. The rock songs are plodding and the quiet songs belonged to better records......to watch those records get broken up for Demolition was heartbreaking." - Ryan Adams (Stereokill)

The Reviews

"Sounding nothing like demos, Demolition triumphs with jangling rockers, twangy country-pop and darker acoustic ballads which are highlighted by beautiful melodies and Adams bittersweet lyrics...... It showcases a true singer/songwriter not being hindered by over production, forgoing the gloss root approach for a more grass root one." (Andy Frankowski - Drowned in Sound)

"it's songs are sketchy but affable, with a confidence that makes the half-hooks sound almost indelible." (Noel Murray - AV Club)

"Demolition is a fairly humble set that plays more to No Depression readers than VH1 viewers, conjuring college radio as Gold did vintage 70's AOR...... It ultimately plays like what it is - a shuffle mix of sessions - but it holds together better as an LP than Gold......" (7 out of 10, Will Hermes, Spin)

"Demolition is further proof that his creative instinct is still intact (Album of the Month)" - (Uncut, October 2002)


1. Nuclear+
2. Hallelujah++
3. You Will Always Be The Same^
4. Desire++
5. Cry On Demand*
6. Starting To Hurt**
7. She Wants To Play Hearts*
8. Tennessee Sucks+
9. Dear Chicago*
10. Gimmie A Sign**
11. Tomorrow (Ryan Adams/Carrie Hamilton)+
12. Chin Up, Cheer Up++
13. Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)+

+ Recorded at Javelina Studios; Nashville, TN (July 2001), produced by Dave Domanich.
Ryan Adams - Guitars, Vocals, Piano, Synthesizer, Bass, Drum Machine; Bucky Baxter - Pedal Steel Guitar; Billy Mercer - Bass; Brad Pemberton - Drums; Brad Rice - Electric Guitar; Gillian Welch - Background Vocals; David Rawlings - Guitar.
++ Recorded at Cello Studios; Hollywood, CA (Jun 2001), produced by Ethan Johns.
Ryan Adams - Guitar, Harmonica; Sheldon Gomberg - Bass; Ethan Johns - Drums, B3, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals, Ukulele, Bass; Greg Leisz - Steel Guitar, Dobro; Chris Stills - 12 String Acoustic Guitar, B3, Background Vocals; Juliana Raye - Background Vocals
^ Recorded at Nord Studio AB; Stockholm, Sweden (Oct 2001), produced by Michael Blair.
Ryan Adams - Guitar; Mikael Nord Anderson - Dobro; Michael Blair - Djembe, Heartbeat; Svante Henryson - Cello.
* Recorded at Javelina Studios; Nashville, TN (Jan 2001), produced by Ryan Adams.
Ryan Adams - Piano, Guitar, Bass; Bucky Baxter - Guitar, Background Vocals.
** Recorded at Woodland Studios; Nashville, TN (Dec 2000), produced by Dave Domanich.
Ryan Adams - Guitars; Bucky Baxter - Pedal Steel Guitar; John Paul Keith - Guitar; Billy Mercer - Bass; Brad Pemberton - Drums.

The Background
In between a hectic year of touring, interviews, music videos, guest appearances and other shenanigans, Ryan somehow found the time to record four new albums of material in 2001 and 2002. The first - The Suicide Handbook was recorded before Gold and featured 21 tracks of dark sparse acoustic tracks recorded in a similar fashion to Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen. The next titled - 48 Hours was recorded just days after Gold was finished, and is a classic full band 70's country rock experience. Then there is the Pinkhearts album which came about from two different sessions, where Ryan seems to channel Paul Westerberg and the sleazy rock swagger of the Rolling Stones. And lastly are the Sweden Sessions, a jazzy/bluesy singer songwriter record, which Ryan recorded one night while on tour in Stockholm.

The result of all these recordings was Demolition - a 13 track grab-bag of songs that showcases Ryan's versatility as a songwriter. Originally Ryan Adams had planned for the Pinkhearts to be his official follow-up to Gold, then there was talk of a 60+ song box set, but eventually Ryan Adams and Lost Highway decided that Demolition would be the most suitable choice for the time being.

Demolition was dedicated to actress - Carrie Hamilton with whom Ryan dated in 2001. Sadly, she passed away prior to the album's release. These were some of her favorite songs that Ryan recorded. Quite a few of the songs are haunted by her ghost. "Tomorrow" was co-written by the two of them. "Tennessee Sucks" was written by Ryan in an attempt to cheer her up. While "Nuclear" was written about the time they first met.

Since 2002, rumors have continually sprung up concerning a supposed box set containing the remaining songs from these sessions. Ryan has often mentioned in interviews that he re-recorded The Suicide Handbook with a full strings section, as well as mentioned adding songs and re-mastering the projects. Whether or not the full albums will ever see the light of day is anybody's guess. But most of the recordings have shown up on various download sites


My Review

On Demolition, you get a few tracks from each of these diverse sessions. It's not meant to paint a complete picture of any project. The album falls together more like a mix tape, and serves as a decent introduction to the four albums the songs are pulled from. However in my opinion, in no way does Demolition do justice to the original albums (which are widely available on download sites). 48 Hours might just be one of the greatest country rock albums ever made! The Pinkhearts albums (available on various sites as 2 separate sessions) are a fun listen full of hard drinking, bar band, dirty Nashville scuzz rock. The Suicide Handbook features sparse early versions of songs from Gold which often sound better than those officially released. And the jazzy Sweden Sessions features what just might be Ryan's greatest song ever in "Dear Anne". I still enjoy listening to Demolition from time to time, because the songs go together pretty well and it sounds better than a bootleg. But, usually I'll reach for 48 Hours first.

Mostly Essential! But it's worth checking out the complete albums too.

Key Tracks : Almost all of them.
Other Versions/ Bonus Cuts worth Checking Out
In 2002, some import copies of Demolition came with a bonus disc featuring "Blue", "Song for Keith", and live versions of "New York New York" and "To Be Young" recorded from the Gold Tour.

In 2002, the "Nuclear" CD single came with the bonus track - "Blue" (recording during the 48 Hours Sessions).

In 2002, a limited edition 7" single of "Nuclear" came with the bonus track - "Song for Keith" (recording during the Pinkhearts Sessions).

In 2012, various solo versions of songs from the album were released on the live compilation - Live After Deaf


Random Notes
There were plenty of great songs recorded for this compilation that have yet to be released. Others have found their way on to later albums. Here are some of the notable ones:
Off Broadway - Recorded for Gold, The Suicide Handbook, and eventually re-recorded and released on Easy Tiger.
For Beth (Friends) - Recorded for the Sweden Sessions. Later re-recorded and released on Cold Roses
Dear Anne - Recorded for the Sweden Sessions.
Mega Superior Gold, Candy Doll, I Don't Wanna Work, I Took Your Puppies to the Race Car Track - Recorded during the Pinkhearts Sessions
Walls, Angelina, Like the Twilight, Born Yesterday, One for the Rose, Karina - Recorded for 48 Hours
Pretenders, Famous Eyes, A Long and Sad Goodbye, Cracks in the Photograph, Miss Sunflower - Recorded for the Suicide Handbook
Other Random Info:
Demolition was originally going to be called Cut and Paste

Sweet Videos
"Starting to Hurt" on David Letterman Show
"Tomorrow" on BBC


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