Ryan Williams & The Ridiculous Fantastic

Ryan Williams & The Ridiculous Fantastic


Ryan & Sean blend elements of folk, rock, and soul, into music with genuine substance; Catchy melodies reveal inspired songwriting through a dynamic and powerful voice that could shake you sane, or break your heart in a moment's notice. This is the kind of music that moves you from the inside out.


Ryan Williams and Sean McNellis got their start working together in 2006, with Ryan's second EP, Shortfilm. After a few months of playing shows throughout the Philadelphia region, the two began recording the songs collected on "Ten Songs for Listeners." The album was officially released on May 8th, 2008.

The acoustic guitar serves as a base to the organic arrangements. Each song has a story to tell, a nod to inspirations such as Joni Mitchell and Jerry Garcia. "Ryan and I have a huge overlap in the music we listen to," says lead instrumentalist Sean, "but our influences are all over the place. I was twelve years old, listening to Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon, Mike Bloomfield; I have a huge blues influence. Later I started getting into The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, the Band... I've developed my own style, and these guys were all inspirations for that."

"Now on the writer's side," Ryan adds, "I drew a lot of influences from the singer-songwriters I was hearing as a teenager---Jewel, Alanis Morissette. My mom exposed me to Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Armatrading, Carole King... so before everything else my goal is to make sure to tell a story. As a singer, I learn from everywhere I can, so there's pieces of Folk, and R/B, Soul, Alternative. I'm a huge Joni fan, a Joan Osborne fan, also of Thom Yorke, Michael Jackson, and Lauryn Hill. So the goal with everything we're doing is to marry those parts of us that don't always intersect into something unique and enjoyable."

"Lauryn singing 'Easy Chair!'" Sean says with a laugh.

Indeed, the duo weave a musical tapestry with sound; The gentle, hypnotic bongos of "Cecelia" serve as the perfect follow-up to the tom-driven opener, "Electricity." The vocal and mandolin melodies of "Morning, Night, and Noon" are sure to etch themselves into your mind with quiet nostalgia. "Solace" and "Ear to the Ground" bare rhythmic, gospel roots. The stripped-down and direct "Only Want to Be With You," however, best exhibits the common thread in the songs.

"I'm very much into human emotion," says Ryan. "With most of the songs I've written, there's an emotion at the core of it, of understanding it. That's always the goal; you want to get the people who can relate to what's being said to feel it as the story unfolds. And for the people who can't relate to the lyrics, you put that same feeling in the arrangement, the instrumentation, the melodies, and it's accessible to everyone."

Sean finds this true at shows as well. "I play off of the crowd's emotions. If I see that I'm grabbing the listeners, I want to hold onto that. Thats what's important to getting into the heads of all our fans."

As their debut album's title suggests, 'Listeners' are the target demographic. "It's music lovers that we most want to reach," Ryan admits. "I got asked once what kind of audience we were targeting, and I said 'Anyone who will listen!' We're not trying to be the 'band that kids love and grownups don't understand' anymore than we're trying to appeal strictly to adults."

In a nutshell, Sean offers, "We're making music that you can love, and your mom can love, and your dad, and grandparents. Anyone who enjoys listening to music that's genuine, and good, and emotional will fall in love with this album."

Ten Songs For Listeners closes with the duo's first co-written tune, "Perfect State of Mind," a magnificent song with McNellis playing electric and acoustic lead guitars. "When it's over, we want you to go, 'Oh no, it's over!'" he says. "We leave you hanging so you'll want to come back for more."

"It's a cliffhanger!" agrees Ryan. "If the story came to an You'd have nothing to look forward to, and this is just the beginning."

Visit www.williams-ryan.com, and/or ryanw.dmusic.com for more info!


Morning, Night & Noon

Written By: Ryan Williams

Things that fall don't matter;
All they do is make me wish I wasn't
Real enough for you to touch
--I'm hiding, but your GPS is on;
You left your backdoor open
"So Aloof," but really hopin'
I might leave my heart to lead you here

Things that breathe aren't easily
Replaced, and how could anyone
Ever replace the touch and face
That keeps us dreaming while we lie
Awake at night, the faucet dripping
Ceiling fan, and memories flipping
Through the mind of things
We've yet to do

It could've been easy ,
From way underground;
It could've been easy,
Until you take a look
At what you're seeing;
The reality in fiction is the ending

Is the ending

Petals white, the morning, night
And noon, I've seen the episodes
Of you in stages, all the places
We could spend forever, every day
--But only in the quiet confines
Where there's you and silence,
Though I hear you knocking on my door...

It could've been easy ,
From way underground;
It could've been easy,
Until you take a look
At what you're seeing;
The reality in fiction is the ending
Is the ending


It could've been easy ,
From way underground;
It could've been easy,
Until you take a look
At what you're seeing;
The reality in fiction is the ending
Is the ending

If you find your way inside,
Remember; once invited in, I'm
Powerless against your best advances;
All the lines will start to bleed
And fade, and run together
'Til we can't decipher whether
I am where I end, or you begin...


Written By: Ryan Williams

I'm the loner type, and we all know why;
I'm the kind who usually just breaks good things,
I'm the type who only thinks of himself;
But when Cecelia leaves, I break down and cry

Oh I've left so many in pain before;
Burned so many bridges, and don't know why;
But I take on the weight of the hurt I've caused
Everytime Cecelia walks out that door

(and you told me
that we would be inseparable;
i fell in with my eyes
completely closed

i'm so lonely
When you're away, my entire world
Starts to shake
Starts to shake)

And the summertime bends to keep her warm,
And the day wants only to go her way;
If there's anything I could do, I would
If it meant eternity in her arms

But where she travels to, not a one can guess
And when she'll return, not a one will know
And I'm sure that I'll never understand,
But it doesn't ease the pain any less

And you told me
That we would be inseperable
I fell in with my eyes
Completely closed

I'm so lonely
When you're away,
My entire world starts to shake

Starts to shake

I'm the loner type, this I know too well
I'm the type who usually just breaks good things,
But the angel lost in a piece of time
Oh she's left a void I could never fill..


5/8/2008 - Ten Songs for Listeners
3/2007 - Shortfilm EP
6/2006 - Five EP

The track "Rain In November" from the FIVE EP has been featured on the Step 'N Side Podcast (http://stepnside.blogspot.com/) as well as AnnMarie and Katy (www.annmarieandkaty.com).

Set List

We have enough original material to cover a 2 hour set, and with covers, we could easily do a 3 hour set. We create a new setlist for each show we perform.

Original Songs:

Uncertainty Ahead
The Same Boat
Rain in November
Her Harbor
These Things
December Boy
The River
When You Dance
Behind Your Heels
Garden (Vagabond Song)
Walk Away
Ear to the Ground
Tower of Illusion
My Finger
Hang On
Morning Night and Noon


Note - we are not a cover band. The covers we perform are typically left-of-center songs you wouldn't hear on the radio, and we usually come up with a fresh arrangement in our own style.

Brokedown Palace (Grateful Dead)
Down to Zero (Joan Armatrading)
Worn Me Down (Rachael Yamagata)
Time (Tom Waits)
And it Stoned Me (Van Morrison)
Chimes of Freedom (Dylan)