Ryan Ahlwardt
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Ryan Ahlwardt

Band Pop Acoustic


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The best kept secret in music


"Former Straight No Chaser singer goes solo"

Thurs., 11/17/2005

By Allison Richie

Local singer-songwriter Ryan Ahlwardt has been creating quite the buzz around Bloomington. He is working on finishing his first album featuring his track "I Can See Forever." Ahlwardt hopes the album will be released later this year, but for now, he's still working on trying to "get the fun I have on stage onto a CD. It's got that live feel."

Ahlwardt began his course to fame while he was a student at IU and a member of the a capella group Straight No Chaser, but his passion for music began long before his college years. In high school, Ryan was an active participant in many creative arts and performing arts programs, including choir, and has been playing the same Fender acoustic guitar since ninth grade.

After graduating from IU's Kelley School of Business with a degree in marketing, Ahlwardt spent six months working on Celebrity Cruise Ships with fellow graduates from Straight No Chaser. Together, the quartet performed oldies in an a capella format.

"It was great," Ahlwardt said. "We had so much downtime between performances … we'd write music all the time." Following his 18-month international career as a cruise ship performer, Ahlwardt returned to Bloomington and formed the Mitchell Street Band, promising to deliver "tight, loud, in your face" performances, Ahlwardt said. Despite Ryan's success as a Mitchell Street Band member, he decided to go solo in late 2005, and tours with Darnell Perkins and Eugene McGhee, with whom he recorded his debut album.

"Going solo seemed like the right decision," Ahlwardt said. "I really feel like I'm doing what I should be doing."

Being a solo act "really lets my personality shine through my music," he said. "I love seeing the audience response … when you can tell people are listening, when you can share your music and have it register with them, there's nothing like it."

Ahlwardt said he grew up listening to James Taylor, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and the Eagles. He said he tries to put his own twist on acoustic sound with a pop feel.

"I hate that term (pop), but I guess that's what it is," Ahlwardt said. "It's not just having a great song its getting it out there."

Online communities and his marketing degree have helped him promote his music, Ahlwardt said.

"Facebook and MySpace have helped a lot," he said. "I'm slightly addicted."

Ahlwardt said all his music comes from life experiences.

"I people watch," he said. "My lyrics come from everyday conversations and me wondering what other people are thinking … I'm always talking into my phone recorder and writing phrases down.

"When a listener can take one of my songs and make it their own, that's what I want to achieve."

For performance times and updates on Ryan's album, visit his Web site at www.ryanahlwardt.com. - Indiana Daily Student

"Do Yourself a Favor - Read & Listen to What I Have to Say"

Tues., 5/16/2006

By Ricky Potts

There are times that I feel the need to let everyone I know about an issue in my life, an event that has occurred to me, or information in the news that effects everyone around them. But this time, I would like to take a few minutes and paragraphs to speak to you about something or in this case someone that must be heard.

As most of you might already know, I am an avid concert goer, and a huge music fanatic. I am listening to music when I wake up until the time I go to bed. I dream of music. I eat music. I would bathe in music if I could. I listen to every style of music from hardcore southern rap to back woods country, and I have a great respect for everything in between.

Every now and then I will see a band that I have never heard of, or an act that you didn’t think that you would have the opportunity to see. In most cases, there is a reason to that. But in recent months past I have witnessed an act that was not in that category, but rose above the common opening acts that I am so used to hearing.

I traveled to a show at a local venue one evening to see a piano player sing his heart out about cafés on a corner and telling how all would be well. But, before that man sat at his piano desk, I was granted the opportunity to see a solo acoustic act that took me for a spin, and had me hooked at his first note.

The man that I am speaking about is Ryan Ahlwardt. Hailing from right here in Indianapolis, Indiana, Ryan brings something to the stage that I have not seen in a long time; original music that is good. You can actually feel yourself get closer to his music as each song progresses as he graces the stage in his pool shoes and jeans.

On certain occasions you will see him with his band, the RA Trio. That throws in a set of drums and a bass guitar. The sound never changes; it just gets better as you fall deeper under his musical spell. When his set has finished you are in awe of what you just witnessed.

But seeing him live is simply not enough. Until recently, all you had was the chance to see him play at popular venues like Rock Lobster or Bluebird down in the heartland of Indiana, near the IU campus in Bloomington. But, he has recently released something that will allow you to get your Ryan “fix” any time you need it.

Ryan just released his debut album, I Can See Forever. On this 10 track album you can hear songs about his life, his sorrows, and his dreams. Ryan, writing nearly all of his music, takes this album and throws you a surprise by somehow forcing you hit repeat after the album is over.

This album brings you songs about home. About how he can do just that, see forever. Even a song that he wrote for a girl that is basically living a life-long vacation. No matter what song you pick, you will not be disappointed in his voice, skills with a guitar, or simply appreciation and love for the word music. What Ryan writes are not lyrics, yet a heartfelt soul search that turns itself into an amazing song to which you are not sure whether to dance or cry.

If you were to look up the word "talent" in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Ryan. He is pure passion on the mic stand, and if you do not listen to him, you are only hurting yourself.

www.myspace.com/ryanahlwardtmusic - INTake Weekly

""I Can See Forever" Album Review"

Is there room in today’s popular music scene for another singer/songwriter in the tradition of
James Taylor, John Mayer and Jack Johnson? I Can See Forever, the debut album from
Midwestern newcomer Ryan Ahlwardt, makes a strong case in the affirmative.

After cutting his teeth as a performer on the luxury cruise ship circuit, Ahlwardt returned to
his home in Indiana with a fistful of songs and the desire to share them with the public.
Touring in ever-broadening circles around the region, Ahlwardt discovered that there was a
growing audience for his laid-back take on acoustic pop guitar grooves and relationship-
driven songs.

I Can See Forever was released just in time for summer and the timing could not have been
better. The disc is chock-full of summer tunes, evocative of good times with friends. The
entire cd would make a great soundtrack to a backyard barbecue and it would sound just as
good being played loudly from fast traveling cars with the windows rolled down. One of the
tracks, in fact, is titled Windows Down and a better road trip song has not been written.
Holly is a bouncy song about a bartender in the Key Islands who laments her fate, that of
working for a living in a vacation hot spot. Ahlwardt shows some versatility on a G-Love
flavored cut, Little Peace Song, a song destined for major radio airplay.

The title track, inspired by time spent in Alaska, touches on the perspective possible when
traveling in the land of the midnight sun. Maybe On Another Day deals with the heart-
wrenching that comes when circumstances just won’t fall into place as we’d like. This track,
along with Waiting and Turn My Head To Home, signify Ahlwardt’s understanding of the
bittersweet nature of love, its pitfalls and blessings. The thick bass line of This Mess
reinforces the hypnotic allure of relationships that may not be in anyone’s best interests.
Ahlwardt stretches out a bit here, with nice keyboard fills and a vocal delivery reminiscent of
Rob Thomas on his hot summer cut with Santana, Smooth.

When Ahlwardt is at his best, he writes simple lyrics that nevertheless communicate
beautifully the slice-of-life vignettes that serve as inspiration for his music. The people in his
songs feel real and the emotions conveyed ring true. His singing and guitar playing are as
immediately comfortable and familiar as an old pair of jeans. - Shawn Brockway, Jammed Online Music Magazine


I Can See Forever (May 2006)
Untitled (Fall 2007)


Feeling a bit camera shy


When Ryan Ahlwardt (pronounced “all-wert”) emerged from Bloomington, IN, home of his alma mater Indiana University, in the spring of 2003 as a 22-year old singer, he was unaware of the various places his musical talents would take him over the next four years.

After an exciting tour of the world performing onboard luxury cruise liners, Ahlwardt returned to Indiana’s familiar environs to hone his crafts as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist. With an intense touring schedule and word-of-mouth promotion from a loyal fan base, he was able to take one of the nation’s largest college towns by storm and rapidly expand his reach throughout the well-connected Midwest acoustic circuit.

“I returned to Bloomington to get reconnected with world-class musicians and venues that were friendly towards songwriters,” said Ahlwardt in a recent interview. “With all the time to write out on the ocean, I came back with a sense of anticipation to begin performing, create a following, and record my album. Eventually, as the songs caught on and took shape, I realized how quickly my audience base was growing and word was being spread.”

Now 25-years old and touring in support of the release of his debut album, I Can See Forever, Ahlwardt has performed across the nation and shared the stage with such artists as Gabe Dixon, Ben Lee, The Beach Boys, Martin Sexton, Will Hoge, Rich Hardesty, The Spin Doctors, The Temptations, and Shania Twain. With a guitar-style akin to “James Taylor-meets-John Mayer,” as Ahlwardt describes it, powerful vocal ability, catchy hooks, and conversational lyrics that his audiences can relate with, this Indianapolis-based songwriter is equally impressive and entertaining to watch perform, something easy to do with his busy tour calendar.

With influences ranging everywhere from Sam Cooke, the Beatles, and James Taylor to Jack Johnson and John Mayer, Ahlwardt has huddled next to such recent up-and-coming singer/songwriters artists as Ari Hest, Dave Barnes, and Marc Broussard in his twenty-something fans’ iPods and car stereos. “I was fortunate enough growing up to have my parents and grandparents season my musical palate with all kinds of quality music. Once I started playing guitar, I taught myself all those tunes, which is really when I began writing. It’s still second nature for me to pull out James Taylor’s ‘Greatest Hits’ to get me back on track when I’m in a writing slump or John Mayer’s ‘Room For Squares’ when I need inspiration,” Ahlwardt reminisces.

With the much anticipated release of his debut album, I Can See Forever, which he co-produced with Indianapolis-based engineer/drummer Darnell Perkins and Chicago-bred bassist Eugene McGhee, Ahlwardt claims that he is “just getting started.”

Keep listening!