Ryan Auffenberg

Ryan Auffenberg

BandFolkAcoustic

Biography

For Ryan Auffenberg, constructing his "intensely autobiographical" debut, Golden Gate Park, came easy. His soulful words and gentle music flow from the heart as the bay sweeps out to sea under the Golden Gate Bridge, and as steady commute traffic rumbles across it. His connection to San Francisco is strong, but it's an adopted home. Auffenberg was born and raised in St. Louis -- after college brought him out to the Bay Area, he decided to stay. The journey, and ultimately the destination, plays out across Golden Gate Park. "One of my biggest goals with it was to create a sense of place, to give the listener a feel for the place from which these songs originated," says Auffenberg. Written before and after he made the move to San Francisco from the Midwest, the 13 songs on Golden Gate Park chronicle his efforts to establish a new home.

"Rosalie" kicks back in a jazz lounge, while "Missouri in the Morning" plays in fields of Americana. "Have you seen Missouri in the morning? I am missing her today," confesses Auffenberg, still uneasy about his decision. "Hey, Mona Lisa" and "This Ain't Life" use a pedal steel to summon the country spirit. Yet the title track always brings us back to the West Coast. "Mornings I go to Golden Gate Park and watch the tide go carrying ships to the shore," he sings, still conflicted about where he finds himself. "When are you coming home? You left me here alone." His soul is bared in every condition, and always given a beautiful voice.

The narratives in Auffenberg's songs touch on many emotional themes -- in his own words, "fear of loneliness,rejection, commitment, ambition, longing for personal connection, and a disoriented search for the notion of a true home." They're concerns that we've all felt, yet it takes a special talent to convey them in words beyond the context of a therapy session or a one-on-one chat. While Auffenberg's words certainly posses this intimacy, they also strive toward a broader relevance.

Golden Gate Park is Auffenberg's first official release, but not his first recording experience. Previously equipped with the nine-track demo Climb, he was able to offer enthralled audience members something to take home after a show. Golden Gate Park, recorded and co-produced by Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek, Eryland Oye, the Innocence Mission) at Closer Recording in San Francisco, finds Auffenberg finally saying hello to the world. One listen and you'll be saying hello back; one listen is all it takes to grasp the conflicted sense of place and emotional tension that he sought to express.

Auffenberg began work on Golden Gate Park in late May 2005, but it was a long time coming. Though Ryan is only twenty-four years old, he draws from nearly a decade of practice and performance. In addition to his vocal and guitar work, Ryan also plays piano and Hammond on the new record, and tops his effort off with co-production duties. Tim Mooney (American Music Club, Sun Kil Moon) contributes drums, while a host of other musicians color the recording with flugel horn, cello, bass, pedal steel, and backing vocals. Tracking and mixing concluded in the fall of 2005. Today, Auffenberg's fans share in his immense excitement for Golden Gate Park's impending release.

-Nate Seltenrich

Discography

Demo "Climb"
Ep "The Bright Lights"