Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Jewell’

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Remember live music? “First Flight” documents about 40 minutes of jams recorded during the third week of my September residency at Nublu last year, and, for me, this show was just about the most enjoyable hour of music I played all year.

The ideal of the residency was to mix things up with special guests, different band line-ups, and varied set lists, keeping things fresh and new week-to-week, and this show was the wild card of the bunch. That’s because although Ryan and I have played together for years, and Dave and Spencer have played together for years, neither half of the band had ever met each other. I was tangentially aware of Dave and his music and was intrigued by what I’d heard, so I thought it was a cool idea when Chris Tart, the residency promoter, suggested a collaboration.

So, about 30 minutes after we’d all heard each others voices for the first time, we got up and played for a little over an hour, uninterrupted. The only thing discussed beforehand was that we shouldn’t discuss anything beforehand – not a key or a riff to start with, nothing – so as to preserve maximum spontaneity.

I think this music demonstrates a real connection on stage. In other words, each player was completely present and actively listening on the bandstand. Listening back, there are moments I can hear Ryan saying – musically – “Hey, let’s go over here! Check this out!,” or Spencer being like “Wouldn’t it be cool to go down this path?” And we followed. And it was cool.

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In my mind, that listening thing is the number one most important factor in any collaboration or cooperative effort, but especially in improvised music.

And I think it’s fair to say that a little more listening, a little more presence, would do the whole world some good right about now, don’t you think?

Chris Forsyth
releases August 28, 2020

Chris Forsyth – guitar
Dave Harrington – guitar, electronics
Ryan Jewell – drums, percussion
Spencer Zahn – bass

On The Lillywhite Sessions, Ryley Walker and the similarly indebted trio of drummer Ryan Jewell and bassist Andrew Scott Young cover Dave Matthews’ infamously abandoned 2001 art-rock masterpiece of the same name, a record where he and his band indulged a new adult pathos and a budding musical wanderlust. With a delicate rhythmic latticework and vocals that ask you to lean in, Busted Stuff recalls Jim O’ Rourke’s golden Drag City days. Emerging from a wall of distortion, Diggin’ a Ditch becomes a power trio wallop à la Dinosaur Jr, shaking off existential malaise like twenty- something pals writing rock songs in the garage. Walker’s Grace is Gone, the most faithful take here, is a testament to his unflagging love for the music that helped make him a musician.

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This end-to-end interpretation of youthful fascination is a collective reminder that we are all just kids from somewhere, reckoning with our upbringing the best we can. Walker has stepped through the door long ago opened by the Dave Matthews Band to find a world teeming with musical possibilities. On The Lillywhite Sessions, he has, in turn, created his own.