Adams transcends country, while Tiesto puts you in a trance

Ryan Adamsand The Cardinals'Cold Roses'Lost Highway

DJ Tiesto'In Search of SunriseVol. 4'B.H. Songbird

Ryan Adams and DJ Tiesto are two very different artists. But what is similar is their penchant for releasing a grocery store load of material for hungry audiences. Adams just released the two-disc "Cold Roses," while Tiesto will be releasing "In Search of Sunrise Vol. 4" sometime in June. If you haven't heard these two guys yet, get on it.

Adams claims to have more than seven albums worth of material locked and loaded for future release. Is it fair to call the former Whiskeytown singer alt-country's 2pac? Probably. In addition to mass-producing music, he makes it mean something with every lyric sung and chord struck. "Cold Roses" is a monument to his brilliance, as the two discs are chock-full of hard-lining, lo-fi country rockers like "Beautiful Sorta" and weeping strands of melancholic numbers like "How Do You Keep Love Alive?"

While his style is definitively a little bit country, don't let that detract you from him. It's country to the point of hip, and indie to the point of good, making his overall sound something that appeals to both Kenny Chesney fans and Anti-Flag fans.


"Easy Plateau" is total dirt road cruising with the windows down, searching for the best shade tree to sip cider under -- the chorus ringing, "I want an easy plateau, some place where I can rest my head." It's recorded under a dusty filter, and the sliding guitars glisten with clarity in comparison to the grittiness of the rest of the cut.

The balance of the album is as varied as the sonic texturing on "Plateau." "Dance All Night" has a harmonica a la Springsteen, while "Life is Beautiful" utilizes fuzzy guitars amid crushy pianos.

But undoubtedly, the peak of the set is "Meadowlake Street," a gorgeous piece of building arrangement with determined love, "If loving you's a dream that's not worth having, then why do I dream of you?" The song grows in intensity from its quiet beginning with just a fingerpicked acoustic guitar and whispered lyrics to an all-out cry of drums and strummed guitar. The lovelorn lyrics of stars and trees with names carved in them come just in time for the oncoming summer, as does the entire album.

While Adams drowns dusty rural and suburban America's pain out with song, DJ Tiesto has been voted the world's best DJ three years running. His name is synonymous with trance music all over the world and his live shows are bootlegged almost as fanatically as Dave Matthews' are. What separates Tiesto from his peers is his incredible ear. While much of techno grates on nerves as well as ears for many listeners, his breed of trance settles into the land of musical escapism.

"Sunrise" is a collection of songs he found and remixed while touring in Latin America. All the tracks fade in and out of each other, creating the ambiance of either a live set or a 77-minute song, depending on how you view techno music.

The first disc brings a mellow atmosphere that almost delves into downtempo at points. It's capped off by Blank &; Jones' "Perfect Silence (E-Craig's 212 Remix)," which begins with a desperate vocal sample and Phil Collins-y ambient noises that segway into pounding beats washed over by waves of synthesizers.

Disc two starts out stronger and never really lets up. The peak comes with a remix of Tiesto's own "UR," which forges melody and deep bass grooves with Aqualung's earnest lyrics.

While you're listening to this, here's an interesting bit of information: a general rule in trance music is that the beat must change every 16 beats. This creates an ever-changing soundscape that, under the right mixer's fingertips, can captivate a listener for hours. Tiesto does just that by the second disc of "Sunrise," mixing bits of vocal trance in nicely with stylistic instrumental beats which comprise most of the set. It's a good introduction to trance music for those seeking a change, while for avid techno fans, it's also a solid buy.


Bryan Lund is a senior at Mayo High School. To respond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336) or send e-mail to

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