i liked Heartbreaker a lot, more raw, emotional stuff....Gold was definitely a more polished album (pissed when i heard that awful cover of When the Stars Go Blue by the Corrs and Bono), his influences ARE pretty obvious, but i love it anyway, and he does bring a new element to his music.
Fucking love the Whiskeytown album, Stranger's Almanac. I also found a live performance at a place called Exit Inn on the internet, it was just Ryan, a guitar and harmonica, very much solidified my love for his music...Gillian Welch joins him for the last few songs. Time (the Revelator) is a great original Welch song.[/i]