Alt-country fans were fed up with the lack of Ryan Adams output over the last few years. Besides a questionable “metal” album in 2010 called Orion and an outtakes record called III/IV, the last real thing the checker-plaid troubadour released was 2008’s Cardinology. That album had a few memorable moments, but it mostly felt like the singer-songwriter was running on fumes. And maybe he was. Since then, he’s settled down in the quiet hills of Los Angeles with actress/pop singer Mandy Moore and remained relatively quiet, until now. Today Adams released a new single, titled “Lucky Now,” alongside news that his new record Ashes & Fire is on the horizon. The song begins with just him and an acoustic, reminiscent of those early Heartbreaker days, or those sparse moments on Love is Hell. From there it quickly evolves into a mid-tempo country ballad, with a complimentary piano line and some subtle electric guitar.
A constant source of frustration for Adams’ fans is that he’s more than willing to release a wealth of material out into the public. But that material was either jokey side project-type stuff that felt like drunken mistakes, or actual studio recordings that lacked the lyrical depth of his early work. As luck would have it, “Lucky Now” feels like vintage Adams: forlorn, romantic, twangy and sentimental. But most of all, it feels like he’s back to the simplicity that lined his early post-Whiskeytown days.
Ashes & Fire is out October 11 via Pax-Am Recordings.
Stream “Lucky Now” below.