Ryan Adams has been somewhat of a vinyl mastermind lately with the constant stream of 7-inch and Lps. “Live at Carnegie Hall” is the newest masterpiece from Adams, highlighting his two acoustic performances at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City on November 15 and 17 of last year.

The box set also marks the 49th release from Adams’ record company, Pax-Am Records.

Spanning over 42 songs and three and a half hours of music, “Live at Carnegie Hall” is the most comprehensive collection of live music released by Adams since his 2012 box set, “Live After Deaf,” which spans Adams’ 2011 solo acoustic tour of Europe.


“Live at Carnegie Hall” was released on April 21

What is most notable about the album is the intimacy in Adams’ voice and the passion  which he evokes through his voice and acoustic guitar.

While the venue is much different from other locations on Adams’ most recent tour, supporting his recent self-titled album, he still maintains his trademark humor and wit.

During song-breaks, Adams quips with the audience regarding Michael McDonald and the importance of sweaters.

While Adams enjoys the occasional banter and improvisation (look no further than the song regarding the worst song performed at Carnegie Hall), Adams takes himself completely serious from piece to piece, often contemplating the aspects of his own mortality.

“Damn, Sam (I Love A Woman That Rains)” has never felt as personal as this version from the first night. The song speaks to his audience when he emotionally states, “I’m as calm as a fruit stand in New York and maybe as strange,” giving a simple nod of respect to the city that inspired him.

Speaking of New York, Adams made sure to pay tribute both nights to the city that fostered him in the early 2000s, specifically during the recording of “Gold” in 2001.

“New York, New York” is performed both nights at the venue, with the second night featuring Adams ditching the guitar and experimenting with the piano, causing an emotional shift that had tears in the eyes of most in the audience.

Adams also takes this opportunity to present his new songs from his 2014 self-titled album in an acoustic setting, giving them a new dimension not previously exhibited in other live versions.

“Kim” feels inordinately more powerful acoustically; the message it delivers hits harder and is reverberated by the subtle strokes of Adams’ delicate chord progressions.

Other notable songs from this effort include “Trouble,” which entails a depth that sounds through Adams’ acoustic guitar and “Gimme Something Good,” which lacks the large bravado that Adams usually begins his concerts with.

“Halloween,” a personal favorite of mine from the vinyl version of “Love Is Hell,” maintains the same sped-up progression as the original with an emphasis that delivers but seems to lack in comparison to the 2011 version performed in “Live After Deaf.”

Also noticeable is an acoustic version of his 2002 hit, “Dear Chicago,” which feels like a plea of love to the audience to give to his former self, who struggled with depression and a speedball addiction.

Adams cleverly chooses to debut two brand new songs, “This Is Where We Met In My Mind” and “How Much Time.”

Both pieces are indicative of the progress that Adams has made as a musician, and one can hear the struggle of his past as Adams’ voice reverberates through the halls of Carnegie Hall.

This box set of music is a must-own piece for any fan of Adams and should be a mandatory listen for anyone thinking about listening to Adams for the first time, because there is no piece aside “Live After Deaf” that accurately shows the musical progress that Adams has underwent.

Best stated by Adams’ biggest hit, “Come Pick Me Up,” “I wish you’d make up my bed / So I could make up my mind / Try it for sleeping instead / Maybe you’ll rest sometime / I wish I could.”

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