“In 2007 Ryan Adams and the Cardinals entered Electric LandLady studios on 8th street in NYC and went in for a session intended to last two weeks. Six months and over 60 tracks later, they emerged with the album Easy Tiger. But it was only glimpse into the depth of the work the band had undertaken and the vast amount of material that was recorded.
As the sessions wound around into the deep winter months a double album emerged, a rock record that felt more like a hybrid of all the records that the band had mutually consumed as kids… from influences as wide as KISS and The Cars.
Originally hidden away in the vault while the band hit the road to support Easy Tiger, and now for the first time here in its entirety is the Cardinals second double-album concept rock opera about the 80′s, ninjas, cigarettes, sex, and pizza.
Enjoy Volume III/IV. by Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, from the turning point in the classic line up of the band featuring…. Catherine Popper on bass( her last with the band), Neal Casal on guitar and vocals ( his first with the band) Brad Pemberton on the drums, Jon Graboff on the Steel Guitar ( as well as a few other things ) and Jamie “The candyman” Candiloro on piano and synths, here producing again as well.
“Change. That always seemed to be a theme throughout the Cardinals…be it musical styles, band members, bad habits, etc. And III/IV is proof of that. Coming off Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights, I wasn’t expecting this. A flurry of rock songs… written by a man who had made some big changes in his life and was owning up to some mistakes. There is a hopefulness and renewed lust for life in these lyrics, and that inspired what I think is some of the best songs we ever recorded.
I don’t often listen to the records we made, but over the past four years, I’ve indulged myself with these songs, and I’m so happy they are finally going to be heard. The bulk of these tunes were done in just a few days at Electric Lady, where Ryan had been holed up for a while writing and recording. Of course, while there we also managed to record Easy Tiger, as well as DJ Reggie, Werewolph, and HillBilly Joel.
There was never a shortage of great songs, and that was the one thing that’s never changed…”
“In the summer of 2006 I was watching some of my favorite PBS afternoon programming when I got a call on my cell phone from electric lady studios. “We’re down here and I think we might need your help.” It was Ryan calling after a somewhat fiery end to a session we had completed a couple months ago and left us with zero tracks accepted by lost highway again. The great moments of these sessions always out numbered the hard times, which kept me interested in making music with him. This session was different from the start though. He had just gotten sober for the first time since he was 15 years old.
We would spend the next six months in the studio. It was almost like this floodgate had opened. New songs were coming quickly and the quality and diversity was pretty amazing. We were doing demos, cutting live versions, finishing overdubs. There was a level of completion that was not possible with the “fucked up ryan”. All this talent was there and able to shine thru in a way I had always imagined. I found myself at the center of a pretty big organizing task. Making sure everything was getting the proper attention and squeezing every last drop out of the time we had. I know from years of recording how important it is to strike when the iron is hot. Capturing the first release of inspiration in a way that feels natural is the way a great recording is made. I found myself doing this day after day for months. These were the thoughts going thru my mind on a daily basis.
Probably the thing I remember most about these session was a chart system that we used on the back wall of electric lady to keep track of things. It had album titles and song names with the song’s progress. I think at one point we had four albums and even a b-sides list! We were constantly moving songs around to find the perfect sequence. One album that started to form seemed like a bit of a folk record to me. It was around thanksgiving that I presented a cd that was essentially the cuts that would become “easy tiger”. My version had sixteen songs though! Another record that was at the front of our attention was something Ryan called vol. 3 & 4. The idea being that “cold roses” was vol 1 & 2 and this was a logical step that the cardinals had taken forward as a band effort. The tracks shared the democratic process of a band, which always gives a record more depth to me. The personalities really shine thru. Some of my favorite moments of record making are when a band is around on the sessions a lot. You find that having all those bodies in the studio just moves things along nicely. Drummers end up singing. Guitarists end up playing keyboard parts. For my money, it is always the uniqueness of the members and not the speed at which many notes can be performed. Vol 3 & 4 has this uniqueness. It will always be an amazing look into the world of a great band during one of its most versatile line-ups.
There was always the idea that these recordings would come out at some point. When this became a reality in 2010, my first instinct was to use the mixes from the sessions. They were flawed but the were done in the heat of the moment. The mixes were a “performance” to get the band excited at that moment. But Ryan felt they could really be “mixed”. Seeing as we had the originals to compare, I figured we were safe to give a couple a try and see how they were coming out. I was really happy when we did listen back to new mixes we were shocked how timeless they sounded. For me it had a lot to do with the performances. Everything was so raw but captured pretty well so a tight mix just sounded out of this world. There were no click tracks and the material was arranged meticulously. The final result was something that fans will really enjoy. Vol 3 & 4 is like a huge billboard rising above the château marmont. Bigger than life and glossy, with a spotlight cutting thru the haze. I never got sick of working on these tracks and I know the fans will not get tired of hearing them…”