Lately I've been thinking that Ryan Adams is probably my favorite musician. I think this knowing full well how derivative he is, and that probably half of the songs that he's put out are complete shit, because most of the songs that aren't complete shit affect me like no other songs.
About his new albums: Cold Roses is pretty decent. I'd probably give it a 7/10 or so. None of the songs are just god awful, but none of them are really classic or anything, except for maybe Let It Ride, Dance All Night, and Meadowlake Street. My biggest problem with Cold Roses is how fucking thin it all sounds, if that makes any sense.
Jacksonville City Lights is my favorite of the three albums. It's the most country album he's ever put out, including Whiskeytown. Only a handful of songs (Dear John, Silver Bullets, September, and maybe Games) deviate somewhat from that traditional, old-timey country sound. There are a few songs that I skip on here, like Games and The End, but the rest are really solid. My favorite songs are Hard Way to Fall (even though I like the solo acoustic version a lot more), Dear John, The Hardest Part, September, and Don't Fail Me Now.
29's my least favorite. Most of the songs are story songs and the stories are just boring and the lyrics are bad for the most part. I wish he'd stop singing about god damn prostitutes. My favorite songs are Blue Sky Blues and Elizabeth, even thought they're essentially the same song.
My favorite album of his (and of all time) is, of course, Heartbreaker. Every song on there is essential Ryan Adams, the lyrics are great, and the production is perfect. The drums on Come Pick Me Up, perfect. Also, it's a really heartbreaking album. Ho ho ho!
I saw him live at the Ryman in Nashville a little over a year ago, and other than a fucking divine Devendra Banhart show, it was the best concert I've ever been to. Only thing I didn't like about it was Jesse Malin opening, and that guy sings like I take a shit.
Anyway. I like Ryan Adams, he is a good musician and Dear Chicago is his best song.