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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gold



(Lost Highway Records)
Released 9/25/01

"It sounds like its own AM-FM radio station that plays oldies. You put it on, and it's like, 'Why put the radio on?' My record's like every style you could have. I told Ethan [Johns], 'Let's make our own radio station, only I'm the leader of the Temptations, I'm the head of MC5 or The Beatles.'...... "Something weird and groovy happened in that room. But it wasn't just the room, it was my willingness to try to tie up everything with my past and get over some of that shit. And the fact that I was walking the 30 minutes there from my hotel every day in the sun. I was very much swinging my arms. Like, 'Fuck it, man! It's cool. I'm in California. I'm not in Nashville. I'm not in New York. I'm not dying. I'm totally not strung out on drugs.' It was a really good feeling: I'm creating this great piece of work. I knew I was on to something." - Ryan Adams (GQ- British, April 2002)

The Reviews

"Heartbreaker" was dour and depressed, "Gold" is open and optimistic. ... "Gold" shows Adams' on -going growth as a songwriter.There he hangs on the same vine as Neil Young, Robbie Robertson and Paul Westerberg . Gone are the Gram/Emmylou harmonies and the intimate stripped down acoustic sound of yore. In its place we have the sound of big, soulful backing vocal, and a band that at times sound at once like The Who ("Gonna Make You Love Me More"), Crazy Horse ("Enemy Fire") and, you suspect, just about any band in between... Adams has achieved something special. He has produced another classic album while managing to escape the shackles of his last musical masterpiece. (2-4-7 Music)

"easily one of the year's best." (James Minchin. AOL Bottom Line.)

"Ryan Adams continues to blossom brilliantly with Gold ..... Gold offers a longer, more exciting glimpse at Adams' mainstream potential and the likelihood that he will be making great records for a very long time to come" (Billboard magazine)

"Second album from reformed hell-raiser is another masterpiece... Gold on the other hand, is the sound of Adams growing back into the world, born again. The thrill of regeneration runs through this music like a river.... Still, it's a minor aberration, and Ryan Adams, still only 27, has so much more great music in him it doesn't seem quite true. Gold is sheer blinding genius. " (Allan Jones. UNCUT)

"This is the kind of record that you could slip onto a classic hits station..." (The Sydney Morning Herald )

"...one of the most uplifting of this year's releases." (Chris Jones. BBC)

"If 2000's Heartbreaker, Adams' solo debut, was his Greetings from Asbury Park, Gold is his The Wild, the Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, a scattershot encapsulation of offhand brilliance and lazy genius that refuses to toe anything resembling a straight line. Adams can pen a pop single, a gritty slab of Crazy Horse-informed rock, or a weepy country ballad with equal aplomb. I smell a long career beginning to simmer." (Jeff Miers . Shakinstir)

"Ryan Adams brings back a story-telling aspect of Rock-n-Roll that rivals greats like Dylan, Springsteen, and Neil Young. Every track on the album plays like it belongs on a soundtrack if your life was a movie. To make videos for any of these songs would be to rob fans the experience of creating them in their own minds and putting their own images to the sounds coming through their stereos.......... " (John Brodigan)

"A 70-minute opus that some artists wait their whole career to achieve Ryan Adams has penned at the young age of 26. More heartbreaking than groundbreaking "Gold" seems like something of a classic, though maybe Ryan's vision doesn't match the final outcome. One of the finest releases of the year from a gifted artist who is still learning how to rock as he is learning how to smile.. ...Rating: 4.5/5" (Andy Frankowski. Drowned in Sound)


1. New York, New York
2. Firecracker
3. Answering Bell
4. La Cienega Just Smiled
5. The Rescue Blues
6. Somehow, Someday
7. When the Stars Go Blue
8. Nobody Girl (Ryan Adams/Ethan Johns)
9. Sylvia Plath (Ryan Adams/Richard Causon)
10. Enemy Fire (Ryan Adams/ Gillian Welch)
11. Gonna Make You Love Me
12. Wild Flowers
13. Harder Now that it's Over (Ryan Adams/ Chris Stills)
14. Touch, Feel, and Lose (Ryan Adams/David Rawlings)
15. Tina Toledo's Street Walkin' Blues (Ryan Adams/ Ethan Johns)
16. Goodnight Hollywood Blvd (Ryan Adams/ Richard Causon)

Side 4 (Limited Edition Bonus Disc that came with initial pressings)
1. Rosalie Come and Go
2. The Fools We Are as Men
3. Sweet Black Magic (Ryan Adams/Ethan Johns)
4. The Bar is a Beautiful Place
5. Cannonball Days

Ryan Adams acoustic/electric guitar/harmonica/piano/banjo
Ethan Johns acoustic and electric guitars/drums/bass/chamberlin/glockenspiel/B-3/vibes/mandolin/background vocals/harmonium/mandocellobanjo/ vocals
Richard Causon piano
Chris Stills bass/ background vocals/acoustic guitar/electric guitar
Kamasi Washington saxophone
Benmont Trench piano/ hammond b-3
Jennifer Condos bass
Bucky Baxter steel guitar
Adam Duritz background vocals
Juliana Raye background vocals
Milo De Cruz bass
CC White background vocals
Rami Jaffi accordion
AndreCarter trumpet
Jim Keltner - drums
produced by Ethan Johns
engineered and mixed by Ethan Johns
assistant engineer, Steven Rhodes
mastered by Doug Sax and Robert Hadley at The Mastering Lab (Hollywood),
recorded at the Sunset Sound Factory, Los Angeles


According to sonicnet.com, this would have been the tracklisting for Gold if it had been a double album: "New York, New York" "Cannonball Day" "Rosalie Come and Go" "Off Broadway" "Tina Taleda Street Walkin' Blues" "When Stars Go Blue" "Dear Chicago" "Touch, Feel and Lose" "It's Only Going to Make You Love Me More" "I Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath" "Somehow, Someday" "Harder Now That It's Over" "Fool's Gold" "Maralisa" "The Fools We Are as Men" "Firecracker" "Answering Bell" "Wildflowers" "You're Nobody, Girl" "La Cienega Just Smiled" "The Bar Is a Beautiful Place" "From You to Me" "The Rescue Blues" "Sweet Black Magic" "Goodnight Hollywood Boulevard"


The Background

Following the unexpected success of Heartbreaker, the follow-up - Gold was the breakthrough album that pushed Ryan Adams into the spotlight. Now signed to a major label under Lost Highway, Ryan was provided larger budgets for recording and making music videos, as well as a giant promotional push that had been almost non-existant in the years before.

Recorded in six weeks during the Spring of 2001, Ryan Adams alongside producer - Ethan Johns set out to create an expansive double album in Hollywood, CA. The goal was to make it sound like an early 70's AM radio station, with a multitude of styles and sounds ranging from Otis Redding soul to MC5 garage rock to Rolling Stones rockers. The result was an uplifting sunny California 70's influenced folk/rock/pop record of the highest caliber. Where Heartbreaker was rough around the edges, dark, and depressing, Gold proved to be a polar opposite. Thanks in part to Ethan Johns, his role in the making of Gold cannot be understated. Ethan (son of Glyn Johns) co-wrote several tunes, played on most of the album, and even suggested many of the players on the record.

"Most of Gold was written in the studio.... considering we recorded nearly 30 songs, we worked pretty fast.... We were doing 2 tracks a day.... there were 9 first takes...... We'd come up with an idea for the song, he'd write it, we'd literally play it once, record it, and it was done. Then we'd move on to the next one." - Ethan Johns (from Sound on Sound, June 2013)

A few days before September 11, 2001 a music video was shot in front of the Twin Towers in New York City. The first single and video featured the line - "I Still Love you New York" and became an anthem for many Americans that year.


My Review

Although Gold hasn't aged as well as Heartbreaker, it remains a favorite among many fans (myself included). To this day, Gold is one of Ryan's biggest selling albums and for many fans, marked their initial introduction to his music. My first Ryan Adams show was at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston during the Gold tour, and hearing these songs played live was a defining moment in my obsessiveness of the man. The songs are uplifting, well written, and easily rank among some of his best work. Many fans complain that the Gold is over-produced, but according to interviews with Ryan and Ethan, it was actually recorded more live in the studio than Heartbreaker! If anything, the songs sound more produced simply because more time, care and consideration were taken into the arrangements of these songs. This is singer songwriter pop at it's best.

Essential!

Key Tracks: Pretty much the whole record. There are only a couple songs that I don't care much for ("Enemy Fire" and "Gonna Make You Love Me")..... Also all of the bonus tracks are worth getting a hold of. They easily rival the songs on Gold and could have made a bitchin' double record.


Other Versions/ Bonus Cuts worth Checking Out

In 2001, original copies of Gold came with a 5 song bonus disc called "Side 4". Songs on the disc included "Rosalie Come and Go", "The Fools We Are as Men", "Sweet Black Magic", "The Bar is a Beautiful Place", and "Cannonball Days".

In 2001, import copies of Gold usually featured the bonus track - "Rosalie Come and Go".

In 2001, the "New York New York" single featured bonus tracks from the sessions - "Mara Lisa" and "From Me to You"

In 2002, the "Answering Bell" single featured b-sides/liveversions of "Touch, Feel, and Lose", "New York New York", and "To Be Young" recorded during the Gold Tour.

In 2003, a DVD Audio version of the album was released and featured the music videos for "New York New York" and "Answering Bell", and a live performance video of "Rescue Blues"

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


Covers

"When Stars Go Blue" has been recorded and released as a single by several artists. The most well known were done by Tim McGraw and the Corrs (with special guest Bono). But it's also been covered by Tyler Hilton.

"New York New York", "Nobody Girl", "When the Stars Go Blue", and "The Rescue Blues" have all been covered by Phil Lesh and Friends.

"Nobody Girl" has been covered by Furthur (group featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh).


Random Notes

Other Songs Recorded During the Gold Sessions

Dear Chicago - originally recorded for Heartbreaker and the Suicide Handbook, then later released on Demolition

She Wants to Play a Game of Hearts - recorded for the Suicide Handbook and released on Demolition.

Cry on Demand - Also recorded for The Suicide Handbook and eventually released on Demolition.

Off Broadway - Also recorded for The Suicide Handbook and eventually re-recorded and released on Easy Tiger.

Fools Gold - an unreleased gem of a song that sounds like early 70's Bob Dylan.


Other Random Info:

When listening to "When the Stars Go Blue", according to Ryan : "Think of the star as someone hiding away in her Beverly Hills mansion and saying an awful lot. Listen to the song again with that in mind and see what you think." (Los Angeles Times 2/3/02)

"Firecracker" was originally written by Ryan Adams for Lucinda Williams to sing.

"New York New York" was not meant to be anthem for NYC, it was actually written with an old girlfriend in mind and instead of using her name. He switched it with "New York New York". (Although the woman it's written about was living with Ryan in NYC, so it sort of still has to do with with NYC)

"New York New York" was nominated for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the 2002 Grammy Awards.

Gold was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2002 Grammy Awards.

A picture Ryan age 5, and his older brother - age 9, dressed up as Kiss for Halloween is show the liner notes.

In the liner notes of Gold, Ryan thanks Alanis Morresette multiple times. He supposedly lost a bet with her and that was part of the deal when Ryan lost.

Early versions of "Answering Bell", "La Cienega Just Smiled", "Mara Lisa", "Touch Feel and Lose","Firecracker" and "Wild Flowers" can all be found on the unreleased album - The Suicide Handbook.

"Enemy Fire" has also been recorded for the Pinkhearts album and on the Exile on Franklin Street album.

An early version of "The Rescue Blues" can also be found on The Q Division Demos and Exile on Franklin Street.

An early version of "Rosalie Come and Go" can be found on the unreleased album - Exile on Franklin Street.


The Artwork/Cover

In response to why he picked a flag for the cover of Gold:
"We did the cover shoot out in Los Angeles, and we did a lot of different poses and everything. One of the things we had was this big huge flag, and I thought it just looked powerful - that's what attracted me to it. I also kind of wanted to tweak the whole Bruce Springsteen 'Born in the U.S.A.' thing. Instead of me standing there all tough like Bruce, I'm in my slouchy, twitchy posture, my head down, my hair a mess. We thought it looked cool, but it was also meant to be a bit of a goof." (New York Times Magazine 11/4/01)

Gold Press Kit Video




"New York New York" Music Video



Interview with Charlie Rose from 2002 (skip to 33:00 to see Ryan's bit)






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