This album maybe out of left field, but this album really defined a year for me when I was a Junior at Valley Forge Christian College.
I remember seeing him in concert with my brother at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia. If you have not seen a concert at The Tower, it is a must; beautiful architecture and acoustics. The cool thing that happened at the concert, that I have never seen before (and i've been to alot of concerts) was that Ryan Adams interacted with the crowd in such a open and authentic manor.
He gave away guitars! Like four of the them! Free... to fans with a whimsical comment that Ryan Adams thought was worthy of a six-string engine.
Above all, the reason that this album gets my pick for album of the year is for the opening track on the album, "New York New York." Im from Philly, and I am definitely not a fan of New York, but I am a fan of this song. It is a catchy, well crafted song, with loads of heart.
The eerie thing about the video for "New York New York" was that it was shot on September 7, 2001. A few days before 9/11. This video features Adams under the Brooklyn Bridge with the Two Towers in view practically throughout the whole video.
It reminds me of New York... New York in another place and time.