5.0 out of 5 stars Ryan Adams at his best
THIS is truly alt-country, a healthy blend of Hank Williams and Nirvana. This is also the best vocals you are going to hear from Ryan Adams. Stark lyrics and beautiful harmonies (thanks to Caitlin Cary) this is one of those albums that lingers with you long after the last note fades. And, as an added bonus, if you haven't already purchased this album the new release...
Published on May 19 2004 by stormy3
3.0 out of 5 stars Good alternative country
I will not go on about this album. It's alternative country and that means country with a decent amount of rock. I believe "Faithless street" is a good album but no masterpiece. It should be enjoyable to all fans of Ryan Adams and it's very likely that most of those people already own this release. I'll just say that if you're into alternative country and don't know about...
Published on Feb. 18 2003 by L. B. Ivarsson
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ryan Adams at his best,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)THIS is truly alt-country, a healthy blend of Hank Williams and Nirvana. This is also the best vocals you are going to hear from Ryan Adams. Stark lyrics and beautiful harmonies (thanks to Caitlin Cary) this is one of those albums that lingers with you long after the last note fades. And, as an added bonus, if you haven't already purchased this album the new release includes 9 additional tracks.
The album opens softly with "Midway Park." Then they break into the blistering rocker "Drank Like A River," that has the lyrical feel of a younger Kris Kristofferson. Next comes the wrought "Too Drunk To Dream," a perfect example of Adam's Williams-esque self destructive side. Next comes the first of the added tracks, the haunting "Tennessee Square," a ballad of small town alienation. Next comes the heavy slice of honky tonk, the backhanded "What May Seem Like Love." Then the album edges into the stark pain of "Faithless Street" which finds Adams seeking plaintively, "If angels are messengers from God/please send one down to me/if angels are messengers of God/Got a letter He should read." "Mining Town" continues this theme of stripped down haunted feelings., pairing haunting steel guitar and spine tingling harmonies. They kick back into honky tonk form for the dark "If He Can't Have You." Black Arrow Bleeding Heart" sound like a contemporary mountain ballad. Caitlin Cary takes her only turn at lead vocals on the blackly humorous "Matrimony," where she belts out "I don't believe I care to marry/though I cannot say exactly why/It somehow seems to me that matrimony is misery/It's simply a faster way to die." Ryan Adams sounds like a younger Hank Williams as he tears into "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight" and the following "Desperate Ain't Lonely." Next comes the text book alt-country song, "Hard Luck Story" where Adams channels a mouthful of wit as he tells us "Well I got a bucket full of tears and a hard luck story and there's a bad moon rising behind/And I know I told you're daddy that I loves you but I changed my mind." They go into full throttle twangy rock for "Top Dollar." "Lo-Fi-Tennessee Mountain Angel" is quite possibly the most gorgeous song ever recorded. "Revenge" a little too grunge rock, but will leave you bopping in your seat. They make up for it with the quiet beauty of "Empty Baseball Park." "Here's To The Rest of the World" has an almost carnival undertone as Adams sings "I guess you deserve something you work so hard/at trying to be just like everyone else/except people like me." This sets you up for another fine example of Adams' wit in "16 Days," "I got 16 days/most of them are nights." "Yesterday's News" is the first song to really dip into Adams love of Morrissey. The album closes with the beautiful plucked bass and backyard picking feel of "Factory Girl."
This album is a beautiful album from a band who, while well versed in the grunge rock of their era had a healthy knowledge, love and respect for the classics of country. Listening to this album one realizes that there is very little that belongs on an all country station. However, there is a definitely twang to the melodies, a mandolin or fiddle and a firm setting of stories among rural working class that makes them all wrong for rock stations as well. This is, pretty much, the definition of alt-country.
5.0 out of 5 stars NC's Dylan...,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)Admittedly I am biased... I discovered this album in the winter of 2000 standing on a windy platform, waiting on a train in New Haven, CT... I was in the midst of a terrific divorce and this was the first CD I purchased following the abduction of my music collection... riding that cold MetroNorth commuter into Manhattan, walking through Grand Central and down Park Avenue in the snow, with headphones blasting; this album saved my sanity...
It is a brilliant collection of songs that captures the "broke-down-and-busted-but-still-running" Alt. Country spirit so vividly ... bits of Uncle Tupelo; "Drank Like A River", the Jayhawks; "If He Can't Have You", Son Volt; "Top Dollar"... and still Adams breaks out on his own with gems; "Faithless Street", "Black Arrow, Bleeding Heart" and "Yesterdays News"... but he hits the hardest with "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart" and "Desperate Ain't Lonely"... and while "Factory Girl" is incredibly sweet with some of the prettiest guitar and gut-wrenching lyrics, a near perfect closer... it's the song "16 Days" that shows the talent that's about to explode...
"Ghosts has got me running away from you"... Thanks Ryan, I needed to hear that one...
3.0 out of 5 stars Good alternative country,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)I will not go on about this album. It's alternative country and that means country with a decent amount of rock. I believe "Faithless street" is a good album but no masterpiece. It should be enjoyable to all fans of Ryan Adams and it's very likely that most of those people already own this release. I'll just say that if you're into alternative country and don't know about Whiskeytown, "Faithless street" is for definitively for you.
For the rest who already have discovered Whiskeytown I bet you're also familiar with Jayhawks ("Tomorrow the green grass" and "Hollywood town hall" are their best) and maybe Scott Miller and the Commonwealth ("Thus always to tyrants")... But if you're not, prepare yourself for a pleasant musical experience!
5.0 out of 5 stars The only Whiskeytown album for me,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)I first saw/heard Whiskeytown on the tele during an Austin City Limits show. I immediately bought Stranger's Almanac. After devouring this album I found Faithless Street by chance. Since acquiring Faithless Street, I less often play Stranger's Almanac, and that's not because it's not good, it's excellent, but 'Faithless' has a sort of added character value.
What 'Faithless' Doesn't have is the rich, production smooth sound, and scissor cut melded musicianship that is the product of a band playing many gigs, that is found in Stranger's Almanac. But what it DOES have is more songs (3 of the same found on 'Strangers': "16 Days", "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight", and "Yesterdays News"), more raw intimate lyrics, and more drowning in a puddle of whiskey. The musicianship is there maybe even more so, it's just unprocessed, truer and more honest like the lyrics. A reliable steady rhythm section, good steel guitar work found on many of the tracks, and of course Caitlin's fiddle.
Ryan Adam's voice sounds best when its melted and drizzled over country songs. He sounds very serious about heartache and his sometimes helpless emotional position, but is content to just be drinking and dancing and singing about the ladies and their impact on his mental health, as if singing is a sort of exorcism of the pain in his heart and soul. The only song I consistently skip is the one sung by Caitlin (sorry Caitlin). This has nothing to do with her talents, she has a beautiful voice that adds great harmony to Ryan's in all the right places, and she can saw on that fiddle in the most lonesome and melodic way that I've heard, but when I'm listening and bent on Ryan and what he's saying in his songs, it's difficult to switch speeds and listen to "Matrimony" smack dab in the middle of the disc.
Some other stand out tracks other than the ones that make it to 'Strangers' include: "Tennessee square" and "Faithless Street" (both re-recordings of the songs from the earlier disc Rural Free Deliverly where the song "Faithless Street" is titled "Angels Are Messengers From God" ), and "Factory Girl", an accoustic love song picker about a hopless secret admirer.
Faithless Street has some songs that rock and some that ache, but they all make me sing.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Conversation in Washington Square Park,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)Wait a second, I know that guy. "How's it going?" I shout to Mr. Ultra-Hip Soul Patch walking towards me across Washington Square Park.
In response, I receive a slight nod from Mr. UHSP who's on his way to one of the hip-est clubs in the Village. After breezing by me, he unexpectedly turns around and asks, "How's your investigation of alt-country going these days? What bands are you into?" I think I see a slight sneer creep across his face - you know the sort of sneer that implies "that whole alt-country scene was so 1990s."
"Lately, I've been listening to the Bottle Rockets and Whiskeytown."
"Old stuff - cool", he says before muttering under his breath, "I'm not surprised. The Brooklyn Side was hip in an ironic way in like 1994."
"They are both great bands. Too bad Ryan Adams had to go solo."
"Oh, you think Caitlin Cary is integral to Adams being successful?"
"Yes, she's a great harmony vocalist, though I'm not crazy about when she tries to carry a tune herself like on 'Matrimony'".
"I see. So you're a misogynist. Women should know their place and all that."
"I didn't say that. It's just I'd rather hear Ryan Adams singing lead vocals and Caitlin Cary chiming in with harmony vocals like on 'Too Drunk To Dream' and 'Faithless Street'."
"Hmm, whatever. Sorry to keep this short, but I've got to run. I'm catching up with Fab and Karen O down at Bleeker Seven."
Okay, so Mr. UHSP is a little full of himself. He's hip to all the latest scenes and doesn't have time for people who aren't on the right guestlists. Accept him for who he is and you'll get along with him okay.
Too bad Whiskeytown is too late 90s for him. Whiskeytown created three albums and all of them are still worth listening to here in the new millennium. Strangers Almanac is their masterpiece and Pneumonia is their experimental album. That just leaves Faithless Street, their debut slice of country spiked with punk attitude. Faithless Street is where Ryan Adams first unleashed his formidable writing chops on a generally indifferent world. If you don't believe the guy is gifted, just check out "Drank Like a River" or "What May Seem Like Love". Give this album a chance and you might just start thinking "brown-bagging it tonight behind some tavern" sounds like sort of a cool way to spend a Monday night. There's a ragged charm to Faithless Street that doesn't appear on Whiskeytown's future efforts. Whether it is the foot-stomping country rave-up "Hard Luck Story" or rocking Replacements-esque "Revenge" that does it to you, you'll have a smile on your face by the time Faithless Street is through. Still, at times you'll wish the band had taken a little more time to develop some of the songs. For example, "Midway Park" features catchy verses but flattens out into one of the least imaginative choruses I've heard in some time and "Empty Baseball Park" is simply execrable from start to finish.
If you are just dabbling in alt-country, Strangers Almanac is the album to get, but if you are serious about "the movement" you'll need to have all three Whiskeytown albums in your collection. Mr. UHSP probably has all three himself, though you'd have a heck of a time getting him to admit it now that he's into Interpol and the Detroit Cobras.
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm moving to Faithless Street!,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)This disc is a gem! If you like rock, country, folk, punk--it's all here with musical arrangements that are a little ragged and off kilter in a way that makes you say "WOW!" The lyrics evoke vivid images of broken down drunks, loneliness, despair and broken hearts. But all is not doom and gloom-"Mining Town" and "Factory Girl" are sweet, and "Matrimony" tries to answer that question "when are you getting married?" in a somewhat cynical way. Underlying it all is a sense of hopefullness, that they really are going to figure it out someday. Ryan Adams voice is perfect for these songs, and he and Caitlin Cary have some great vocal harmonies on "16 Days" and "Lo-Fi Tennessee Mountain Angel." I guess it's considered alt-country because they use a violin and a pedal steel on some of the songs, but DON'T let that scare you away-this is a must have. Highly Recommended!
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely an Essential,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)Whether you are a fan of indie rock, non-Music Row country, classic singer/songwriter classics, or punk with depth, this single CD will hit 'em all separately and together with conviction. Beyond all, forget all the genre labels, this CD is the product of amazing songwriting. Some of the material is so musically simple while still coming across as emotionally complex, each song truly is a masterpiece. A true classic!!! Forget all the legend and hype. Start with the music and you will come to the inevitable conclusion... Whiskeytown was a great American band. They made three great albums, and this is one of them. Check them all out. They are all different, and they are all worth a good solid listen. You won't be sorry.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow.,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)I never buy a CD from just hearing 30-second audio samples, but I made an exception for this one. There is not a single track out of the 21 I heard that I didn't fall in love with. I only purchased this album three days ago, but I've already listened to it six or seven times. I don't remember an album that I've listened to as much as this one on purchase.
I was previously under the belief that the Jayhawks made the best alt-country album of all time with "Tomorrow the Green Grass". Ryan Adams and 1996-era Whiskeytown has proven me wrong. This album is mucho better than Adams' own "Gold".
5.0 out of 5 stars My Desert Island Album,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)Short and simple: if I were stuck on a desert island--one that miraculously had a CD player--and I could pick one CD to listen to for the rest of my life, this would be it. I can't understand the apathy in the other reviews: this CD is one of those rare "classics."
Notable tracks are "Black Arrow; Bleeding Heart," "Desperate ain't Lonely" and "Too Drunk To Dream"
This album combines the raw elements of a good counrty album while infusing the sophisticated songwriting that Ryan Adams is know for. The simplicity of this album displays the effect good music can have when written and crafted by someone like Adams.
If you purchased "Gold" and are interested in more Adams music like "Gold", you should note that this album is almost a different genre than Adams' solo work. You may want to buy "Heartbreaker" before checking this out; but if you like Hank Williams Sr., Merle Haggard, Steve Earle, Gram Parsons or even Lucinda Williams--basically if you dig country and like "Gold"--buy this album now! It is already a classic as far as I am concerned.
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Getting Religion,
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)Whiskeytown was the best band ever in the alternative country genre, and Ryan Adams is still one of the most talented writers around. My bandmate and I used to listen to a cassette of this, in his truck all the time,traveling to and from gigs (the original CD release,which I still own ,so I can't comment on the bonus tracks,but was a little dissapointed to see them spread throughout the track order of the original release,which had a perfect feel to it the way it was;perhaps the Baseball Park Sessions and other bonuses could have been put out as a separate release as an alternative,especially now that the group is no more.But these songs in any collection merit 5 stars!)."Drank Like A River" has always been my favorite;and I was sorely dissapointed that they didn't play it live when I saw them on the Stranger's Almanac tour (new members didn't know a lot of the older material). Ryan Adams conjures up images of desperate,messed up,almost hopeless people better than any country or rock songwriter I've heard. A favorite quote "So I started this damn country band,cuz punk rock was too hard to sing",sums up Whiskeytown's musical sensibility.
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