Will You Ever Hear a Brent Ryan “Protest Song”?

I’ll tell you as a disclaimer right now that I vowed to myself that in my musical career I would never get political.  My reasoning is twofold. One, I don’t ever want to isolate a valuable part of my fan-base. Secondly, I never want to boost my own ego to think that I know more about right and wrong simply because I’m a musician with a microphone. To me that seems manipulative in the same way that cult leaders are manipulative.  Being given a stage is a dangerous responsibility, and I try to protect myself from letting it get to my head.  Why is my political perspective any better than anybody else’s? Let me assure you right now that it is not. Don’t ever let me fool you into thinking otherwise.

A Little Brent Ryan Musical History

Let’s have a little fun. I really don’t know if have a “sound”. In the musician world we talk about finding “your sound”, some elusive part of your soul that has to be opened up through a variety of spiritual musical experiences and suddenly you’ve found your place among the spinning planets in perfect harmony with all of creation. Is there a Brent Ryan Sound? I don’t know…you tell me.

Is Kentucky the New Texas?

Perhaps I do write this post to poke at my fellow Texans a little bit. But I do it out of love. Why? Because I want Texas to continue to generate and value unique off-the-grid music. Alongside the exploding Texas music scene comes money. And when money gets big, a gold-rush of money chasers follow suit.  When that happens, the sincerity of organic songwriters with a unique voice can get left behind, lost in the crowd of screaming college kids that worship a supposed unique “Texas Country” performer who is really only regenerating a 1990’s sound, and brag about how rebellious it all is simply because it isn’t Nashville.  

Access Granted (Part 2 of a little historical perspective on Country Music)

The satisfaction of getting your music heard is easier and more accessible than ever.  Labels used to be the only avenue for mass distribution. One reason why so many musicians are broke is because they are shooting for mass distribution without a label, and that takes an office of people who light up cigars rolled in 100-dollar bills and laugh villainous laughs at you crazy hard-working types.  So, maybe don’t think about mass distribution. Maybe think about how you can get 100 people in your town to come out for a show. Maybe think about how you can use live streaming to be a part of people’s weekly lives in a meaningful way. Maybe work on the craft of writing songs that folks will keep coming back to when they need those sounds and lyrics to speak to them again.  This industry is filled with people who are suggesting last century industry strategies in a new century market.

Is Country Music Traditional? (part 1 of a little music-history reflection)

When I think about genres of music in America that are traditional, few genres come to mind that would outperform Country-western music on that specific characteristic.  Perhaps Blues, which traces its origins back to slaves singing old spirituals while working crops in the fields.  Otherwise I would think Country-western music is high on the list of traditional genres that American music listeners enjoy.  As a good American boy from Texas, it’s easy for me to think that country music has just sort of always been here. But lately, I’ve been learning some history that has caused my perspective to change.