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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Follow the Lights

(Lost Highway Records)
Released 10/23/07

The Reviews

"3 Stars....here he's gunning for the Grey's Anatomy adult-alternative crossover market ..... Adams pulls it off, the low-key vibe emphasizes the empathy between him and his excellent backing band the Cardinals, who add warmth and a ragged humanity to Adams' tunes." (All Music Guide)

"9.1 out of 10..... Follow the Lights is seven songs that celebrate a liffle of Adams' past, shows off how fantastic he and his band are right now, and points towards an overwhelmingly positive future." (IGN Music, Reviewed by Chad Grischow)

".....a nice companion to a pack of Marlboro Reds and a rocking chair" (Ground Control Mag - review by Travis Marble)

1. Follow the Lights
2. My Love for You is Real
3. Blue Hotel
4. Down in a Hole (Jerry Cantrell)
5. This is It (Ryan Adams/Johnny T Yerington)
6. If I Am a Stranger
7. Dear John (Ryan Adams/Norah Jones)

Ryan Adams - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, and Banjo
Neal Casal - Guitar, Vocals
Chris Feinstein - Bass
Jon Graboff - Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals
Brad Pemberton - Drums
Jamie Candiloro - Piano and Keyboards

All Songs Written By Ryan Adams; except where indicated
Produced by Jamie Candiloro
Recorded by Jason Wormer at the Village (Los Angeles, CA); except for Tracks 1 & 2 - Recorded by Jamie Candiloro at Sunset Sound (Hollywood, CA), Assisted by Clifton Allen.
Mixed by Jamie Candiloro at Glenwood Place Studios (Burbank, CA), Assisted by Brendan Dekora.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at gateway Mastering (Portland, ME)

The Background

In the Spring and Summer of 2007, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals returned to touring theaters across the country. This time, with the addition of Jamie Candiloro on piano; they performed professional, full band acoustic sets featuring plenty of reconstructed old favorites, and unreleased songs that would later turn up Easy Tiger and Follow the Lights. The shows (as well as this EP) mark a definite shift in the band's sound. No longer as jammy and off the wall as the shows in 2005-06, now the set lists were written out in advance and everything was rehearsed to perfection. This EP perfectly showcases what the band sounded like at these shows.

The songs on Follow the Lights were recorded after the sessions for Easy Tiger in 2007. It was also released only a few months after the album came out. Follow the Lights contains a mixture of new songs (the title track, "Blue Hotel", and "My Love for You is Real"), an epic Alice in Chains cover ("Down in a Hole"), and some newly recorded Cardinalized renditions of previously released tracks ("This is It", "If I Am a Stranger", and "Dear John"). All in all it's another nice addition to Ryan's vast catalogue.

My Review

Overall this is a nice mellow EP, but by no means an essential release. Everything is a bit too clean, and pristine sounding for my tastes. As a result it lacks some character and spontaneity that have helped make many of his previous albums such great listens. Still there are some real gems. "Blue Hotel" and "My Love for You is Real" stand up as classics! As for the re-recordings, (other than "Dear John"), I definitely prefer the original versions of "If I Am a Stranger" and "This is It".

Not Essential but definitely worth some downloads

Key Tracks "Down in a Hole", "My Love for You is Real", "Blue Hotel", "Dear John"

Other Versions/Bonus Tracks

In the UK, Follow the Lights was released under the title Everybody Knows and featured the bonus track - "Everybody Knows".

In Germany, Follow the Lights was released exclusively as a bonus disc on a reissue of Easy Tiger.

Random Info

Follow the Lights sold 19,000 copies during its' first week debuting at #40 on the US Billboard Charts.

Song Info

"My Love for You is Real" was played regularly in concert throughout 2001 and was also recorded for the unreleased: Cowboy Technical Sessions in the Spring of 2001 with Eric Ambel.

"Blue Hotel" was originally written and released for Willie Nelson's album Songbird, which Ryan Adams produced and also features The Cardinals as Nelson's backing band.

"This is It" was originally on the album - Rock N Roll. Another alternate acoustic version was released on the EP of the same name - This is It, in 2004.

Other versions of "If I Am a Stranger" appear on the Cold Roses album from 2005, as well as a b-side on the 7" single of "Now that You're Gone", released in 2004.

"Dear John" was originally released on Jacksonville City Nights and featured Norah Jones sharing lead vocal duties.

Sweet Videos

"Blue Hotel" from BBC4 Sessions, 2007

"Down in a Hole" from BBC4 Sessions, 2007

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