When Ryan Adams quit music back in 2009 due to his Ménière's disease and self-described disillusionment with the music industry a great many of us were very saddened. Many more, like myself, knew it wouldn't last. Adams is too prolific a songwriter (having knocked out 10 official albums in his 9 year solo career, plus half a dozen more unofficially released ones) and he obviously loves music too much to just completely walk away.
Since the break he's gotten married to Mandy Moore, released a couple of books of poetry, tossed off a handful of web-only hard rock tracks under the moniker's Werewolph and Sleazy Handshake, released a full-on, web only metal album, started his own record label and released a full album worth of b-sides from his days with the Cardinals.
Like the Army before breakfast, this guy does more work in retirement than most of us do in a lifetime.
He's currently on tour in Europe and while there has been seeling a 7" pressing of a new song "Empty Room" coupled with a cover of Alice in Chains song "Nutshell" as the b-side. Presumably this is the first single from an upcoming new album, but details are sketchy in that department.
"Empty Room" has Ryan Adams feet set firmly in his old country rock roots. Its a mid-tempo acoustic rocker with a nice little electric guitar solo towards the end. It also features his lovely wife on backup vocals. It is pleasant enough sounding number, but there's something missing from it. Though I can't quite tell you what that something would be. Probably I was just hoping for something more from Adams' after the long break from recording what I would call proper music (no offense to the weird-outs and the metal, but that's not really what I want from my Ryan Adams.) Its a very decent song, but after so long I want something more than decent. I want lyrics that punch me in the gut and leave me weeping in my bed, I want a tune that sticks with me, filling my ear holes as I go about my day.
"Empty Room" just doesn't do that. It does however get me excited that he's writing and performing again, and makes me look forward to whatever he does next. I couldn't find a download for the tune, but someone did post the full audio on Youtube and I'm happy to bring that to you.