Ryan Tanner
Gig Seeker Pro

Ryan Tanner

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"CWMA Review: Ryan Tanner"

A rare, intimate performance from a treasured troubadour, a passionate, rollicking ride with some Heber rockers and a first look at new material from Utah’s latest major label signees made The State Room showcase this past Saturday one to remember.
Although we are only halfway through the 2012 CWMAs, seeing Ryan Tanner -- who is usually not a frontman but rather provides support in a number of local bands -- perform his own songs with a cast of skilled players might, quite easily, go down as my overall CWMA highlight this year. The troubadour played around 10 songs, including many of the heartfelt gems off his debut 2011 EP, Seven Years. With a backing band of Dylan Shore (pedal steel, guitar), Paul Jacobsen (banjo), Mark Smith (cello, electric mandolin) and Brian Hardy (keyboard), the songs were delightfully re-imagined, thus creating a lush sonic wall of acoustic strings backing Tanner’s soft croon. And such arrangements make the tunes seem less doleful and gut-wrenching and more emotionally evocative, piercing and perfect. Intermittently, Tanner engaged the crowd with thanks, praise and lots of wry jokes -- including him saying, “Welcome to the CWMAs, or, as I like to call them, the Why is Ryan Tanner Heres?”-- leaving the City Weekly staff hoping that the self-deprecating musician takes the frontman role more frequently.


But Tanner didn’t strictly stick to songs from the EP that landed him in the showcase; he also played a fresh one, written one week ago with friend Dustin Christensen in Nashville, in which he sang, “I’m too tired to fight,” and had that quintessentially humid and twangy Nashville sound. Tanner said this was the first time that the band had actually played together in a live setting, and they pulled it off exquisitely well. (Since they don't have a name, about two beers in, I decided to take liberties in naming them Ryan Tanner & the Bandaloo Bandits, which was the first things that came to mind, for whatever reason. Now, two days removed, I have less conviction it is the “perfect name,” but it seems interesting enough, and, who knows, it's now there's for the taking.) Whatever the name, they also played a tune from Tanner’s former band, Atherton, the title track from the 2007 Skyline Motel, along with Peter Gabriel’s “Washing of the Water” and, quite possibly the best song of the night, “My Madeleine.” - City Weekly


"2011 Americana Music Fest Review"

If you wanted introspective lyricism, Americanafest at the Rutledge had you covered there as well with American Songwriter Award winner Ryan Tanner. Backed by two friends from his home state of Utah, Tanner channeled a fellow impressively bearded folk group Iron and Wine with a 45 minute set of very personal songs that enraptured the crowd. - Nashville Examiner


"Sonicbids // An Interview with Ryan Tanner"

Interview with American Songwriter Winner – Ryan Tanner
by Sonicbids in Quick Chats & Interviews, Sonicbids BlogNo Comments »
The coolest thing about working at Sonicbids is hearing an artist say, “it was a total dream come true” about one of the opportunities they found on our site. It makes us all warm and fuzzy inside, and we want to hear more. So, we caught up with Ryan Tanner, the 2010 American Songwriter Lyric Contest Grand Prize Winner and got to know a little bit about him, his experience winning the contest and what’s in store for him next.
Your music is fantastic — how long have you been writing for? What (or whom) encouraged you to begin writing?
I have been writing songs for about 10 years. I took a creative writing class in college, and the professor had brought in some songs to illustrate some good writing. One of those songs was “Sinaloa Cowboys” off Bruce Springsteen’s Ghost of Tom Joad record. I can pinpoint to that day why I started writing songs. That record changed my life. I have been writing ever since, trying to write a song that good. It’s what keeps me going.
How did you hear about American Songwriter?
I spent a week in Nashville last year during the Americana Conference, and in the registration gift bag there was a copy of American Songwriter. I have always been aware of it, but had never had a subscription. I noticed inside that they had a lyric writing contest that coincides with every issue, and had seen their postings on the Sonicbids site. I typically have shied away from the contests, but saw that one of my all time heroes, Jim Lauderdale, was the grand prize co-write so I could not resist.
What happened after you won the first round? Did you know that you were entered into the running to win the co-write?
I found out in October that I had won the first round and in February found out that I had won the grand prize. It really was a total dream come true.
How was writing with Jim Lauderdale? I listened to “Learning to Listen” online – it is absolutely fantastic. Can you describe the how the writing process went for the two of you?
Just talking with Jim and having him show me around Nashville a little was amazing. The co-write was great. I don’t write with other people much, so this was really new territory for me. It was really inspiring to see how he approached songwriting and how thoughtful he was. I have been a fan of his for so long. I’ll count it as one of the great experiences of my life just to sit and work with him. As far as the American Songwriter folks, they are some of the finest people I have met. There is something about southern hospitality. Caine, Jamie, Rachel, and all the other folks there are doing such a great thing. I can imagine that running a print publication can be very challenging these days, but I think what they are doing every issue is something that is completely unique and there is not another magazine that I know of that is writing about such a vast collection of artists and performers.
In terms of exposure, what have the results been for you since winning the contest?
The exposure has been great. It’s hard to pinpoint what success you get from things, but my EPK visits and song plays are hundreds more monthly than they were before. The American Songwriter folks were kind enough to put one of my songs on their digital sampler last issue alongside some of my all time heroes like Buddy Miller and Charlie Louvin. Really great exposure for me.
What cool festival/gigs do you have coming up?
I am performing at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase (which I also booked through Sonicbids) this month, and I was selected for an evening showcase at the 12th Annual Americana Music Festival in Nashville in October. I can almost guarantee that was indirectly because of the American Songwriter contest.
- Sonic Bids


"Ryan Tanner & The Perfect Song"

When Ryan Tanner won American Songwriter magazine’s annual lyric contest for his tune “I Never Did My Best,” he didn’t exactly celebrate with champagne and caviar.

For one thing, such an audacious display isn’t fitting for the mild-mannered troubadour who deals in exquisite melancholia in much of his music. For another, he’d sort of been down this path before, when his former band Atherton landed a song on the soundtrack to the MTV series Laguna Beach.

For many bands, having a song featured on national TV would be a “big break.” For Atherton, it was another signpost on the road to breaking up. As Tanner puts it, the group basically ran out of gas after recording its excellent album Skyline Motel. “We never recovered from making the record,” Tanner says.

Ryan Tanner performs "Peaceful Mind" at City Weekly's downtown office. Filmed and produced by Erik Daenitz

Now solo, Tanner might just find the American Songwriter honor offers a bit more of a push in the direction he wants to go. Not only did he beat out nearly 9,000 songwriters, but winning meant he got to travel to Nashville for a songwriting session with one of his heroes, Americana artist Jim Lauderdale. They ended up writing a song together called “Learning to Listen,” recorded it, and Lauderdale set up meetings for Tanner at several publishing houses, including BMI and Bug Music, where Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Alison Krauss do their publishing.

For a guy who sometimes questions his career choice, the experience was a much-welcomed shot of confidence that he’s on the right path.

“It was really encouraging to me as a songwriter,” the 36-year-old Tanner says. “I think about making music here in Utah, and I’m really glad I stuck with it while a lot of my friends have just moved on. Now I’ve realized my thing is just going after a song. I’m after a song. The song is everything. I’m not the hip guy. I’m not cool. I’m after writing a good song. I feel pretty fortunate that I’ve been able to stick with it long enough that I feel like I’m getting closer.”

The next step is capturing some of those songs on a new record, which Tanner hopes to record this summer. And though he’ll play those songs with a band when he can, he wants to be able to play them solo on tour. While Utah has fine musicians working in all genres, it’s not exactly a hotbed for roots music, especially compared to what Tanner experienced in Nashville, where “music is part of the everyday framework of life.”

Now, Tanner is trying to figure out how to make music and songwriting an everyday part of his life.

“I want to write songs, and I want to play songs for people,” Tanner says. “I don’t want to be a rock star, but I want to be a working songwriter. I realize it’s an uphill battle, but I also realize there are people who do it.

“I need to make a record. I have to have a record to go on the road, and I feel like I have a really good record in me.” - Salt Lake City Weekly


"Jim Lauderdale & Ryan Tanner's "Learning to Listen""

American Songwriter is pleased to unveil “Learning To Listen,” the song Ryan Tanner, our 2010 Grand Prize Lyric Contest Winner, co-wrote with local legend Jim Lauderdale last week.

Tanner and Lauderdale wrote the song from scratch, in the span of one afternoon. “The song we actually wrote just came from something from our conversation,” Tanner said. “I said to Jim: I think I’m getting better at learning how to listen to music, to the songwriters I love… that was the starting point for the song.”

The next day Tanner cut a demo of the song at Denny Martin Music. “That was a new experience for me,” Tanner said. “I had spent a little bit of time in the studio making records. But it was much different…to see how they did it and how quick it was. We were there for like an hour.”

After the pair had finished the co-write, Lauderdale asked Tanner if he could sing harmony on the track. He consented. “It’s one of the coolest thing’s anyone’s ever asked me.”

Click here to watch an interview of Tanner and hear his performance of “I Never Did My Best,” the song which claimed the Grand Prize. - American Songwriter Magazine


"American Songwriter 2010 Lyric Contest // Grand Prize"



Ryan Tanner, a singer-songwriter from Salt Lake City, Utah, won the 2010 American Songwriter Lyric Contest Grand Prize for his song “I Never Did My Best,” which originally took top honors in the November/December 2010 issue. Tanner’s prize package included a co-write with Jim Lauderdale, in Nashville, along with a demo recording session at Denny Martin Music.

“Getting together to write with Jim was so great for me, just to see how how it can sometimes be done in Nashville,” Tanner said. During the co-write, the team wrote a song from scratch called “Learning To Listen.”

“The song we actually wrote just came from something from our conversation,” Tanner said. “I said to Jim: I think I’m getting better at learning how to listen to music, to the songwriters I love… that was the starting point for the song.”

Tanner has been a long-time fan of Lauderdale, and it was his association with the contest that compelled Tanner to enter “I Never Did My Best.” The lyric contest winner said he’s most impressed by Lauderdale’s versatility as a writer and musician. “There’s not one thing that defines him. Patchwork River is a rock record. It’s a blues record. There are elements of folk.”

Patchwork River landed at No. 41 on American Songwriter’s Best Albums of 2010 list.

The day after the co-write, Tanner cut the demo for “Learning To Listen,” with Lauderdale singing harmonies on the track. (Look for the song to stream on www.americansongwriter.com in the near future.)

Be sure to watch Tanner’s performance of “I Never Did My Best” below, along with the interview where he discusses the co-write and demo session. And click here to enter the 2011 July/August Lyric Contest.



Ryan Tanner, “I Never Did My Best” from American Songwriter on Vimeo.



Q&A With Ryan Tanner, 2010 AS Grand Prize Lyric Contest Winner from Shane O’Rear on Vimeo. - American Songwriter


"American Songwriter 2010 Lyric Contest // Grand Prize"



Ryan Tanner, a singer-songwriter from Salt Lake City, Utah, won the 2010 American Songwriter Lyric Contest Grand Prize for his song “I Never Did My Best,” which originally took top honors in the November/December 2010 issue. Tanner’s prize package included a co-write with Jim Lauderdale, in Nashville, along with a demo recording session at Denny Martin Music.

“Getting together to write with Jim was so great for me, just to see how how it can sometimes be done in Nashville,” Tanner said. During the co-write, the team wrote a song from scratch called “Learning To Listen.”

“The song we actually wrote just came from something from our conversation,” Tanner said. “I said to Jim: I think I’m getting better at learning how to listen to music, to the songwriters I love… that was the starting point for the song.”

Tanner has been a long-time fan of Lauderdale, and it was his association with the contest that compelled Tanner to enter “I Never Did My Best.” The lyric contest winner said he’s most impressed by Lauderdale’s versatility as a writer and musician. “There’s not one thing that defines him. Patchwork River is a rock record. It’s a blues record. There are elements of folk.”

Patchwork River landed at No. 41 on American Songwriter’s Best Albums of 2010 list.

The day after the co-write, Tanner cut the demo for “Learning To Listen,” with Lauderdale singing harmonies on the track. (Look for the song to stream on www.americansongwriter.com in the near future.)

Be sure to watch Tanner’s performance of “I Never Did My Best” below, along with the interview where he discusses the co-write and demo session. And click here to enter the 2011 July/August Lyric Contest.



Ryan Tanner, “I Never Did My Best” from American Songwriter on Vimeo.



Q&A With Ryan Tanner, 2010 AS Grand Prize Lyric Contest Winner from Shane O’Rear on Vimeo. - American Songwriter


"American Songwriter - 2010 Lyric Spotlight"

“I Never Did My Best”

Written by Ryan Tanner

Interview by Jamie Younger


When did you write “I Never Did My Best?”

Well, I started about a year ago. It took me a little bit to finish the lyrics. Usually I try not to let things sit very long. Once I start an idea I usually try to finish it, to capture that thing that inspired the idea. It doesn’t always happen that way.

What was the inspiration behind the song? Was it autobiographical?

Well, I think maybe all the songs I write and probably all the songs I really love have elements of autobiography. But I really like to be this sort of storyteller, a narrator just telling a story — but there are definitely elements in there from my own life. I think as far as the title goes, “I Never Did My Best” is probably the hardest thing you could ever admit to someone in a relationship, that maybe you messed up, or were messed up, or something.

It’s very honest. How often do you write?

Well, I’m trying to write every day. I went to The Song School’s Rocky Mountain Folks Festival this year in Colorado and took some of the songwriting classes there. There was a professor there named Pat Pattison who actually teaches lyric writing at Berklee, and in his classes he challenges you as a writer to get up and write at least ten minutes everyday. So, since then, I’ve been trying to write for at least ten minutes every day.

Do lyrics or melodies come first when you’re writing?

I think it’s both. One of the things I’ve really been thinking about is Darrell Scott. I know he lives there in Nashville, and I’m such a fan of his writing. He taught one of the classes at Song School and said, “When the song comes, you got to be willing to put down whatever it is that you’re doing and grab the song.” So I think that’s been a challenge. Just when something comes, to stop whatever you’re doing and see what’s speaking to you.

You talk about your influences coming from these great storytellers: Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams, and Steve Earle. How important is it for you to tell a story with your songs?

Well, I think that’s the thing I’ve been drawn to since the very beginning, and I can trace this back to a specific album and a specific song that I heard. When I was in college in a creative writing class, the teacher brought in two songs. One was “Be Mine” by R.E.M. that’s on New Adventures In Hi-fi, and then he also brought in “Sinaloa Cowboys” that’s on Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad. That song really did something to me, and I trace everything that I’ve done back to that time. With that album he had taken a specific subject – immigration – and written an entire album about it. Kind of from the vantage point of the immigrants, but it was storytelling. And I think that record had a tremendous impact on me. It opened the door to a lot of those other people: Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and even contemporaries like Kathleen Edwards. And I’ve really been drawn to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, just great writers that have that narrative style. I just love it. I like to be an observer if that makes sense.

You were in a band called Atherton, but now you’re playing solo. Does writing for a solo album differ in the way that you approach writing for a band?

Well, for a really long time – being insecure about my songs – I liked that I had this great band to hide behind. The sound itself made up for what I was lacking as a songwriter. And I wasn’t one of those people that was a good writer, right out of the gate. I think it’s something that you get better at. Something that if you don’t do it, you lose the edge. It’s an actual craft that you have to get up and work on every single day. I think playing in a band helped me grow a lot, and now that I’m writing for this solo record, I feel really good in the fact that I can get up and play the songs in front of people and have it just be the song. - American Songwriter


"American Songwriter 2010 Grand Prize Lyric Contest Winner"

Ryan was recently named the winner of the prestigious 2010 American Songwriter Lyric Contest. The award will be formally announced in the May/June issue along with an interview. For the grand prize Ryan will be co-writing with Grammy Award winning songwriter, Jim Lauderdale, in Nashville in March.

We are really thankful to the good folks at American Songwriter. - American Songwriter Magazine


Discography

The Things That Don't Kill Us (Late Fall 2012)
Seven Years EP (2011)
Skyline Motel (2007)
Pale Summer (2003)

Photos

Bio

2010 American Songwriter Lyric Contest Grand Prize Winner
2011 Folks Fest Songwriter Showcase Finalist
2011 Telluride Troubadour Honorable Mention
2011 Americana Music Conference Showcase
2012 Telluride Troubadour Finalist

"A voice and phrasing to die for ... The Real Deal."
Pat Pattison, Professor at Berklee & Author of "Writing Better Lyrics"

"Great voice. Great songs man." - Buddy Miller

?"With songs that soar and sear, Tanner is a true local treasure."
Dan Nailen, Salt Lake City Weekly

"... exquisite melancholia"
Dan Nailen, Salt Lake City Weekly

Some songs are novels. Others are mantras. Some are soda pop and candy while others are bitter pills. Ryan Tanner’s songs are, for the most part, none of those. They’re photographs. Snapshots. A truthful, beautiful, sometimes sad, sometimes contented photographic approach to one scene, one moment. Tanner has been lauded for his “knack for turning words into images” (IN Utah) and “spare songs of love and roaming” (Salt Lake City Weekly) for good reason.

You could call it folk, but those aren't the touchstones. These songs are steeped in Springsteen, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Joe Henry– enduring, timeless storytellers who keep genre-namers busy. Is it folk? Is it rock? Is it country? Is it blues? The real questions are: does it move you? Does it take you somewhere? And, when listening to Ryan Tanner sing his songs, the answer is yes.

Tanner’s former band, Atherton, were no slouches either. They had some success when their song “California” was on MTV’s Laguna Beach soundtrack and played high profile tours with bands like American Music Club, The Mother Hips, Sea Wolf, Deer Tick, and The New Frontiers. The Salt Lake Tribune called their last album "a winning set of country-rock sure to please fans of Ryan Adams and Son Volt with some fine songcraft.”

If we’ve learned anything about the muse, it’s that you meet her demands. So Ryan Tanner has set out on his own, just a guitar and a gallery of beautiful, heartbreaking songs to his name.

shared the stage with:
Over The Rhine, Calexico, Ryan Bingham, Kevin Devine, Tim O'Brien, Colin Hay, Deer Tick, American Music Club, Sara Watkins, Horse Feathers, Say Hi, Great Lake Swimmers, Megafaun, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, The McRary Sisters, Carrie Rodriguez, Laura Gibson, Robert Earl Keen, Works Progress Administration, Bowerbirds, Cotton Jones, Richmond Fontaine, Maria Taylor (Azure Ray), Colour Revolt, Breathe Owl Breathe, Neon Trees, Sarah Sample, Hello Kavita, The Band of Annuals, The Devil Whale, Fictionist

played on records for
Sarah Sample, Paul Jacobsen and the Madison Arm, Jay Henderson, Debra Fotheringham, Sayde Price, Dustin Christensen, The Lower Lights