Vol. 28: “La Cienega Just Smiled” Ryan Adams

As long as you don’t request “Summer of ’69” at one of his concerts, Ryan Adams is your typical mild-mannered genius of a singer-songwriter.


Back in 2001, he was coming off a critically acclaimed debut album Heartbreaker and following that album up with Gold. The events of 9/11/01 would forever link this album and its debut single “New York, New York”. Filmed in front of the trade towers just a few days before the attacks, the lyrics “I’ll always love you New York” became part of the voice of a nation.

As great as that song is, it’s too popular to be featured in this blog. The song that grabs me now more than any other on the album is “La Cienega Just Smiled”. Just an album track on a long list of songs for Gold, it’s easy not to notice this quiet, piano driven gem. “Oh the night here it comes again…” It’s one of those songs that defies description as to where its power comes from. Lyrically and musically it just comes together to spin regretful straw of a memory  into pure Gold. Give it a listen and see if you agree.