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Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

Cold Roses – 2005 (Lost Highway)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

On "Cold Roses," Ryan Adams & The Cardinals channel the influences of The Band and The Grateful Dead into a work that primarily chronicles the way places and objects can mysteriously trigger specific memories.

There are plenty of locations referenced here, such as "Meadowlake Street," "Cherry Lane" and "Magnolia Mountain." Floral-centric lyrics also abound on tracks like "Rosebud," "Cold Roses" and "Blossom." These various songs are reminders that the unavoidable scent of a favorite flower, which can hit you while walking down a familiar hometown street, is a sensory time machine more powerful than anything ever imagined by any big budget, Hollywood science fiction film.

Adams sings these songs with his regular pained voice, while sometimes accompanied by meandering, Jerry Garcia-like lead guitar lines, such as those that make a trail during "Easy Plateau." The mood is mainly quiet for much of this 18-song set, although "Beautiful Sorta" sorta rocks out. Although this is not what you might term honky tonk country, it is, nevertheless, colored by many country-related instrumental elements with plenty of pedal steel and other acoustic elements sprinkled throughout.

With "Cold Roses," Ryan Adams has once again conjured up plenty of chilly memories.