Monday, September 9, 2013

NEAF '13 Feature Artist: Jimmy Ryan and Hayride

Jimmy Ryan is not of this world...or at least it would seem that way given his mandolin playing ability. I hold a special place in my heart for this gent (as a mandolin player myself, and someone JR has been very kind to while jamming together). Playing with an all-star cast of players in Hayride will prove to be a rollicking and rowdy set at this year's festival. With that much talent on stage I would be rather obvious in stating that this is going to be an intense act to catch, but I suppose I did just say that. It IS going to be intense and if you have never seen this line up I highly recommend that you catch them. Jimmy took a few to answer our bag o' questions and catch us up on all things southpaw mando...check it.

1) First and foremost, who are you, what do you do? That is, what band are you in or are you a solo artist, what have you guys been up to leading up to the festival, anything exciting we should all know about? Your chance for shameless self promotion…go!
JR: Hey RedLine Roots-thanks for all you do! My name is Jimmy Ryan from Jimmy Ryan & Hayride! We play original hillbillyish music and some old bluegrass stuff as well.I play Mandolin and for the NEAF-Joe Kessler plays,Fiddle,Mike Piehl plays Drums and Dave Westner plays the Bass Guitar!We've been playing locally promoting my 5th solo release-"Readville" and having a ball!

2) New England Americana and the Fest firmly plant their roots and morals in “community”. The event is a culmination of a community of musicians and artists that is going on all year. What does that community mean to you?

JR: Well,I'm very glad there is an Americana community of Roots minded musician's around here theses days.When I started playing the Roots Music around here there wasn't any real community like there is now.I had a band called Blood Oranges and at the same time The Swinging Steaks and Wheelers and Dealers were out there doing a Roots thing as well.Both bands still play from time to time although the Blood Oranges are long gone.We all used to play the Rat in Kenmore Sq,Spit on Landsdowne , CBGB in NYC,Middle East, Night Stage and Johnny D's and TT the Bears,the latter clubs still exist and have some awesome Roots programming to this day.It's great to see so many musicians learning from music of the past and transforming it into something new!

3) Name a record that shaped you as a musician early on. What music initially made you want to sing, or pick up an instrument and make music?

JR: The Band's "Brown" album,Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's" Will the Circle Be Unbroken",The "Old
And In The Way" record was incredible in showing what could be done with Bluegrass and last but not leastThe Rolling Stone's "Let It Bleed"-Ry Cooder's Mandolin solo on "Love In Vain" changed my life.It made me want to play Mandolin for a living and  I have been doing so since 1976.

4) What are you listening to now that you think folks should be aware of?

JR: Most recently I've been enjoying the latest record from "Chasing Blue" who are also on the bill with us at Passim the night of the NEAF!

5) Music festivals, in general, are fairly well known for surprise sit ins, improvisational jams and collaborations. If you could see any two of this year’s acts collaborate on stage at this
year’s NEA Festival, who would you like to see?

JR: I'm just going to play it by ear and see what happens on the night of the show.See who is still wanting to jam by the time we go on at 11:20pm.

6) Why is creating music important to you? Why do you pick up your instrument and write songs? Why do you play that dive bar on a Thursday night? What keeps you going?

JR: First of all,it's all I've ever done and it's all I will ever do.I love writing songs and lately I've enjoyed collaborating with other folks.I like to put the Mandolin into different musical contexts than most folks are used to hearing it and approaching playing the instrument with out the confines of specific genres.I love me a good dive bar but truly enjoy a nice listening room.What keeps me going is wondering whats going to happen next............Thanks,JR

Jimmy and the boys will be closing out the night at Club Passim on  Friday, September 27th. Be sure to be there!

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