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Album: Ryan Adams

Demolition, Lost Highway

Nothing, it seems, can stop Ryan Adams. Knock him down, and he just gets back up, stronger than ever, and with another albumful of songs written about the incident. Or two, or three. As if his authorised output weren't already prodigious enough, Demolition features the condensed highlights of a further five – yes, five! – albums of demos recorded around the same time as his marvellous Gold, in the 10 months up to last October. The five putative albums correspond roughly to five separate sessions – two featuring his rowdy rock band the Pinkhearts, of which the best tracks included here are "Starting to Hurt" and "Gimme a Sign"; one set of 21 "miserably sad" country songs from which half a dozen tracks were drawn for Gold; one feverish two-day session inspired by an Alanis Morissette concert, which furnishes Demolition's most immediate cut, "Hallelujah"; and one Swedish session with a cellist and dobro guitarist, from which comes the serene "You Will Always Be the Same". Though varied in style and subject matter, a thread of sorts is provided by the pedal steel guitar (mostly by former Dylan sideman Bucky Baxter) which oozes through most of these 13 songs – although the best, the slow ballad "Tomorrow", finds Adams hooking up again with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings for another aching road song.