As recounted in chapter 16 of “Losering,” I paid tribute to Ryan’s hyper-productive 2005 by boiling the box set’s worth of music he released that year (41 songs on three albums, one of them a double-disc) down to a single album. Yes, I know that “Ryan never edits himself” is a well-worn trope, and putting this list in the book even seemed to offend some people. Nevertheless, it’s still a fun exercise, and I really do believe that a single great 13-song album was in there somewhere from all the music he put out that year. Most of it is from Cold Roses, since that’s one of the best records from Ryan’s solo era, but even that could have used some pruning and sharpening.
Ultimately, I settled on seven tracks from Cold Roses and three each from 29 and Jacksonville City Nights. After deciding on a track list, I tinkered endlessly with the running order. After trying countless combinations over a period of months, here is what I came up with, 29 Cold Jacksonville Roses, available only on your iPod or Spotify. See if you think it holds up:
Let It Ride
When Will You Come Back Home
Blue Sky Blues
Dance All Night