Ryan Davis & The Roadhouse Band - Dancing On The Edge
After a period of introspection spent re-immersing himself in his drawing & painting practice, as well as his newfound delvings into instrumental music, Davis’ sea change was imminent. ‘I wasn't sure I would ever make another record of ‘song’ songs,’ he says, ‘but last year I started writing again and it eventually took the shape of the record at hand. I worked painstakingly hard on the material. It felt virtually impossible to complete for a bulk of the time I spent trying to enter into it, but the process pulled me out of a strange place. I was eventually able to live inside of the songs enough to understand the world within them - to ultimately help shape them into what I understood them to be.’ Indeed, there’s a load of inspiration captured in the grooves with Ryan’s unfiltered, folk - traditioned approach to poetic twists-of-tongue meeting head on with sublime instrumentation.
Recorded in early 2023 with help both in-studio and remotely from peers like CATHERINE IRWIN (Freakwater), JOAN SHELLEY, WILL LAWRENCE (Felice Brothers, John Early), JENNY ROSE (Giving Up), and CHRISTOPHER MAY (Mail the Horse), Davis draws backup perhaps primarily from his tight-knit drinking buddies-cum-cast of collaborators in EQUIPMENT POINTED ANKH (records on Astral Editions, Bruit Direct Disques among others) - a five- headed hive-mind from which he drew impetus for his own foray into more abstract and improvisational terrain these past few years under the ROADHOUSE alias. The results herein are melancholic, gentle, minimal yet colorful in mood: a lilting highway accompaniment of crisp instrumentation and a relaxed, amiable approach to vocals with rhapsodic wordsmithery. Fans of the aforementioned artists as well as those of Souled American, David Berman, Kurt Vile and ‘Comes A Time'-era Neil should all easily find bounty.
While bare-boned and uncluttered in presentation, many of these pieces track over 6 minutes allowing a fair amount of expansiveness. ‘Flashes of Orange’ percolates with synthetic and organic percussion while Davis ruminates on how ‘a steady drip falls from the ceiling to my forehead / a pitter-patter of my past mistakes’ as a Cale-esque violin chatters through impressionistic fields of pedal steel. It’s got an absence of recurring verses, replaced by an ever-unfolding story, words spotlighted by tasteful flanging synths and lovely key shifts as finally the titular hook lifts its proceedings up into the clouds. Other times the humor shines: tales of a jukebox that ‘only plays ‘Sultans of Swing’ in ‘Junk Drawer Heart’, ruminations like ‘soon I’ll be seen as a problem for the neighbors / soon I’ll be seen as a trophy for the precinct’ in ‘Free From the Guillotine’, and of course the simple proclamation of ‘A Suitable Exit’ being ‘I never asked to be born / I was only wondering where the door went to.’
Release Date: 9th February 2024
Label: Sophomore Lounge
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