Noteworthy new album

For all his prolific output, Ryan Adams hasn't produced a consistently good album. Until now.

Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger

(Lost Highway):

The 30-something Ryan Adams has been making music since he was a teenager. In the late 1990s, he recorded with a country band called Whiskeytown; since 2000, he's released seven solo albums. A three-disc set of rarities is due this fall. What are the odds of engineering, in the midst of such prolific output, anything of lasting value? Depends on where you're standing. Adams has always been capable of sparks of true inspiration, but until now it's never come packaged in album-length form. So cheers to "Easy Tiger," which barrels from rollicking alt-country to meditative alt-folk. The best track, "Everybody Knows," glitters; "Halloweenhead" is wry, subversive fun. There is nothing particularly new here, only a subtle sharpening of Adams's songwriting skills. But that may be the point. After more than a decade, the kid's finally hitting his stride. Grade: A

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