Ryan Davis
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Ryan Davis

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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"The song 'Undone' is
incredible. His voice gives
me chills; you can hear the
pain in his words and tone.
This isn't some "emo"
affectation designed by a
record label to market to the
legions of dispossessed
youth hanging out at Hot
Topic. This is real. I love
how there is an extended pause between the plaintitive
starkness of the verses before the drums kick in for the
chorus. I got the same feeling upon hearing this that I did
the first time I heard 'Heart Shaped Box' by Nirvana.
Phenomenal." - Sol Leistner, CBS, New York, New York


More than anything else, the best
reason to hear Ryan Davis' new
record is to be reminded that
there is real musical diversity
coming from independent East
Texas songwriters.
With brooding lyrics and extremes of tempo and volume, the
emotionally-fraught songs are not intended for easy listening,
background, or driving music. The lead track, "Drown Again" starts
slow and builds up slower, with a melancholy blues riff that repeats and
multiplies and evolves into a gritty melody in counterpoint with an
austere cello bass line.
And so it goes for the rest of the album. Stomp boards, electric cellos,
mandolins and piano lines add complicated textures to an already
moody soundscape. Each listen offers something new to notice and
pay attention to.
One thing you can't help paying attention to is Davis's singing, which
at times could pass for Kurt Cobain's wrenching wails and, at other
times, hovers softly above a whisper. Davis exacts fine control over his
raspyness and the precise pitches at which his vocals crack. His
chameleonic vocals are a kind of barometer for the intensity of the
music, indicating upcoming storms of intensity.
The 11 tracks follow each other in a carefully considered order,
resisting the increasingly popular tendency to hear single tracks on
customized playlists. The record boasts a brief cello-only interlude
dividing the record into rough halves, whose semantic distinctions are
best left for the listener to determine.
In short, the record sounds like little else you might hear. And even as
the themes and motivations for his songs are universal (sadness,
longing, boredom, restlessness), the images of Nacogdoches and
Austin that pepper the album art suggest a local hue to colorize the
sound.
Davis is a Nacogdoches-based artist who did most of the work on this
moving album by himself, as the liner notes proudly exclaim. And for
that, the locals ought to be proud themselves. - Matthew Stoff, The Daily Sentinel, Nacogdoches, TX


Nowadays, when the
summer temperature is
pleasant and you're looking
for an appropriate
soundtrack to go with it,
your first thought would not
be Ryan Davis. This
singer/songwriter/guitar
player, perhaps better
described as melancholic
person, is marketing his debut album "Soul's Tide". This
record leans toward the sounds of Robert Johnson, Dave
Matthews and the Allman Brothers. Intense and reflective,
it is well suited for a slowly approaching evening when the
kindling in the fireplace lights up. There is a good chance
that especially the calm reflective songs may bring a lump
to your throat. The typical slightly hoarse and whispering
voice of Ryan Davis grabs you by the throat. A good
example of that is the intense and moving song "Blue
Clouds". But there is more than just calm music. The title
track and songs "Engines Running" and "Rescue Me"
have a much faster rhythm. As a result, there is no
shortage of variety on this record. Ryan Davis' strong suit
is his intense performance. When he plays the calmer,
more melancholic songs, such as "Fallen", he comes
close to a Matthews-like performance. However, we prefer
Davis to tear up his guitar with a song like "Do Her Wrong"
or to bounce through the studio like a maniac while
playing the title track "Soul's Tide", a song with an
appropriate title. Before you realize it, his songs, which
are a mix of roots, rock and blues, have passed you by.
Fortunately Davis touches the hearts of his listeners with
his melancholic and tastefully arranged songs. He buries
his whispering voice into his music, which is loaded with
ideas, sounds and different melodies. On warm summer
evenings, be ready to be moved by this renowned
songwriter. - Freddy Celis, President, ROOTSTIME, Belgium


"Davis's captivating sound and distinctive voice ranges
from soft melody to intense raw emotion, providing a
riveting live performance experience. " - Walter DeLaRosa, Stephen F. Austin University Film Department


"All my life I have been around gospel and blues music,
and I have never heard that song (crossroads) played so well. This guy
is a guitar virtuoso. " - J.P. Calloway, Sound Engineer, Texas Blueberry Festival


"Filled with raw emotion, which is obvious from the first
listen. " - Marie Leonard, Managing Editor, The Pine Log, Nacogdoches, TX


Discography

Two full length albums available:
Soul's Tide (2007)
What I Cause (2009)

Photos

Bio

For the past six years singer/songwriter Ryan Davis has been a welcomed voice to Austin's live music scene. He was born with the delta blues whispering melodies in his ear as a child in New Orleans, and those blues can still be faintly recognized in his musical stylings. His father, Paul, is an accomplished pianist and guitarist, and his grandfather, John, is a "quickpickin'" banjo player. It's a musical ancestry that spans generations and genres, and Ryan's creativity and talent draws from the very roots of that family tree.

Musical influences the likes of Chris Whitley, Van Morrison, and Robert Johnson lend nutrition to the fever that feeds his brilliant guitar work and addictive melodies. With two full-length, self-produced albums and extensive regional touring, Ryan has shared the stage with such well-known acts as Ian Moore, G.E. Smith (from SNL), Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Bob Schneider, W.C. Clark, and Hubert Sumlin just to name a few. He has been featured in numerous southern festivals such as the world famous SXSW Festival, the Hot Springs Music Fest, the Red, White and Blues Festival and the Texas Blueberry Festival, and has garnered radio airplay from Austin to Houston to San Antonio, as well as on oversees stations in Germany, Australia, and Belgium.

I quickly became a fan the first time I was rocked by Ryan years ago at a venue in North Austin. His songs rang a familiar chord in my mind, sounding like a blend of Leo Kotke and Rodney Crowell. There is an earthy, honest quality to his presence and his music, which combines elements of blues, rock, and roots in an unmistakably unique fashion, all the while striking a nerve that allows the listener to identify with their abstract self. Most importantly, there is connection between the soul of the artist and the souls of the listeners. For me, it was as though I had always known this music, but somehow, and for some strange reason, had never heard it before until now.

Ryan is genuinely humble when discussing his musical accomplishments. This musician is all about the music, and not about the "ego". Yet each time I listen to him play I'm left asking the same question in awe:

Who is this guy?

-Wesley Harrison
Judge and the Well Hung Jury, Austin, TX