Ryan Schmidt is moving to Nashville. Actually, he may already be there. Or maybe he’s in a car driving there right now. Hold on. Now I’m curious. Anyway, Ryan has been making noteworthy music in these parts and will be missed. Before leaving*, Mr. Schmidt managed to sneak onto one last bill at Redstar Union. As a going away present, just for me, he played “White Horse.”** Thank you, Ryan. Good luck.
* Have we determined if he’s gone yet?
** Not just for me, but I may have been a little more excited to hear that song than I should have.
The Singhs have a good thing going on over at Redstar Union. A monthly residency on the high-tech sound stage is a great showcase for their pop songsmithery.
I first became aware of Ryan Schmidt through one of my all time favorite One Night Bands, Golden Owl.* Then I got turned onto his White Horse EP, with a title track whose presence cannot be denied. Ryan just released a new single, trading in lush string arrangements for synthesizers and a modern R&B groove. “Another Friend” is a big departure for the ambitious musician, showing a breadth of ability the defies the overused-and-now-nearly-meaningless singer-songwriter label that has been hung on him in the past. Ryan’s working it on this one. His vocal delivery is outstanding. The melody deftly bobs and weaves its way between the beats. Ryan has a passion for this. The song has a hook. The production is outstanding. Impressive.
Where to get it:
* I even got to shoot their promo pic!
White Horse EP
Knowing nothing about Ryan Schmidt except that he was in Golden Owl*, I click on over to the Bandcamp page for the White Horse EP and am immediately floored. The finger-picked guitar. The voice with the somber tone and a touch of optimism. The strings. Oh, the strings! I don’t know what I was expecting, but this Nick Drake dream was certainly not it. What a nice surprise.
I’m hooked, and I scroll down to look for credits to see who was responsible for this blind-side assault. OK. Recorded by Rafi Sofer, mastered by Mike Quinn. These guys know their stuff. Wait, strings recorded by Aaron Tap at QuailTop Studios? That could only mean one thing. Yup, string arrangement by Paula Kelley.** Well, there you go. This is how you do it. Write a great song that you can play and sing the hell out of and then surround yourself with some of the best music making people around. “White Horse” is a masterpiece.
The rest of the EP is pretty darn good, too. I love Ryan’s finger picking, which returns on “Go Where You Belong”. The harmony vocals by Tim Gearan and the twelve-string on “November 15” are a nice touch. White Horse EP is a solid effort all around.
Where to get it:
* One of my favorite One Night Bands. I even got to shoot their official promo picture!
** Aaron Tap and Paula Kelley live out in LA. They used to live in Boston. If you are not familiar with their work, try checking out Paula’s solo albums, Boy Wonder, Betty Goo, Hot Rod, The Weisstronauts or Boston’s best Bee Gees tribute act, The Boy Joys. You won’t be sorry.
Golden Owl (Aaron Rosenthal, Even Shore, John Sheeran, Lou Paniccia and Ryan Schmidt) was another band I got to photograph for their official One Night Band posters. The band had a loose Star Trek theme for their set. Shatner tie-in or not, “Name Your Own Price” is now one of my favorite songs. I don’t even mean “favorite songs by guys that had only formed a band a few hours earlier”. I mean “favorite songs to sing around the house because I just can’t help myself”.
I won’t pay full price for your love…
This morning I had the pleasure of shooting the first promo shots of four of Boston’s newest bands.
One Night Band 3 is happening TONIGHT! Get yourselves down to The Middle East Downstairs to catch all the crazy action. Not sure what One Night Band is? Check out this here link for the lowdown. As part of the day’s festivities, the bands had to get a promo shot taken before they could embark on their musical journey. I handled four of the bands, Joshua Pickering took the other four (you can see all of the pictures here).
This morning was a blast. Tonight should be tons of fun. All of the proceeds go to Zumix, a very worthy cause indeed. C’mon down!
Walk Of Shame
Flying Blue Squirrels