The diverse landscape of world music is currently dominated by money making, sex selling Hip-Pop. Thoroughly due for a makeover methinks. Although, its with partial thanks to this mainstream that we’re able to appreciate the skill and sincerity with which artists like Ryan Kidwell deliver their craft.
The man has weaved real life, inspiring lyrics into a cocktail of country folk rock, and damn, I really like it. There’s a raw element of vocal grit which wraps and presents each tune to convey a unique and honest perspective.
The whole album is clearly an expression of an inner journey and track one “The First” successfully sets the tone. The subject is commitment, and we’re taken straight to the heart of it. A gem of insight into understanding this most noble and elusive trait.
We’re given a roll in on Be Your Best which invokes the eternal surf-dream of packing the van and hitting the coastal road. The folky funk rhythm flows with a bounce and a bop and ends with a reeling electric guitar crescendo. A winning formula. The message reminds us of the necessity to relax and take time to refocus on ourselves. A valuable suggestion in todays fast paced world, and one that everyone can certainly benefit from.
As we all know, music artists have great influence and the ability to reach a wide ranging spectrum of people. It therefore becomes the artists mandate to educate and positively encourage folks from all walks of life on a variety of individual and worldly topics.
We Are Worthy does just that. Possessing somewhat of a gospel tinge, its conscious counselling urges us to think about our ways and be the change. Ryan displays his confident musical dexterity as well as a sensitive, philosophical side with this mindfully orchestrated track. Best accompanied with wine by the fireside.
The use of timber and steel instruments throughout the album is especially easy on the ears and Stepping Out is no different. Rapper Choc Stix gets involved and flows through some bars to spoon some fun spice into the melodic melting pot. This tune leaves you on a high note and wanting more. So naturally its back to the beginning, and all the way through, again. And again.
What I’ve enjoyed most about this album is how open and welcoming it is. Easy-listening, thought provoking and we’re drawn in through the heart to heart lyrics.. It’s rare to find an album that so accurately reflects the character of its creator and Ryan has found a great balance. Authenticity abounds throughout and the listeners are in for a wholesome musical treat.