Ryan Adams

Luna's show Saturday night at the Ridglea Theater is the week's best alternative to seeing the Stones next month in San Antonio; Ryan Adams' gig the same night at the Granada is the second-best. Or is it? When it's not hitting the spot, Demolition, a new CD of tunes the former Whiskeytown front man cherry-picked from the 8 million albums he keeps threatening to release, proves Adams can be as ham-fisted a songwriter and as blustery a showman as Mick and all the old dudes have become: "Starting to Hurt" and "Gimme a Sign" are pulpy mid-'80s pop-rock in the Eddie Money mold, "Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)" mistakes lots of reverb for meaning and several of the better acoustic numbers come a little too close to that damn "Walking in Memphis" song for comfort. Where's the young guy who just two years ago released the still-heartbreaking Heartbreaker, as distinctive and subtle an alt-country record as I've heard and a real victory for people born after Gram Parsons' death? He's still around, as it happens, hiding out in songs like the elegiac "Cry on Demand" and the raw-boned "You Will Always Be the Same." But unless Adams realizes that the suits at VH1 can wait another 25 years for his mortal soul, he's gonna run his steel wheels into a very deep rut very soon.


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