A classic. The sine qua non of Ryan's albums. Where promise met execution head on.
Heartbreaker is a near perfect record, the kind that never gets dated, with songs that slowly work themselves into the our subconscious musical heritage. It's also our best seller ever.
Upon its release in 2000, it was IMMEDIATELY apparent that Ryan had taken a momentous leap forward with his songwriting and songcraft, abilities that had been merely hinted at in his days with Whiskeytown. For such a fully formed, confident set of songs to come out of nowhere, with their easy amalgam of country and rock stylings, seemed impossible. Heartbreaker almost single handedly re-defined what was possible for roots music and moved in firmly into the mainstream without a whiff of compromised quality.
This raggedy folk-punk confessional, with its stripped down band and sparse arrangements combine to create a record full of soul-baring songs. Get yourself together because Ryan climbs all over your emotions with these tunes of desperation, loss and hope. It's a record you'll want to put on late at night when you're too drunk to fall asleep, but too sober to face staying awake. Features some hefty guest appearances from Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and Kim Richey.
(From Bloodshot Records)
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