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Reviews

Joey RyanJoey Ryan
Album: Fall Through The Night
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10
Website: http://www.joeyryansite.com/

Irish multi instrumentalist and songwriter Joey Ryan has been performing and recording for the last decade. Currently based in Cork city, Joey first picked up the guitar aged 7 inspired by his parent's record collection that had Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Nina Simone amongst others on heavy rotation!

His first release in 2012 at the age of 20 was 'Morning Will Come Soon' which was well received and followed up with the EP 'Redefine' in 2014.

Ryan's biography describes his sound as 'an atmospheric rock based aesthetic, whilst also incorporating acoustic tones' and his current influences ranging from 'Springsteen to The National, Ryan Adams to Jeff Buckley and Tom Waits to Ben Iver'.

All ten tracks on 'Fall Through The Night' are Joey Ryan originals. He sings and plays all guitars on the songs and is ably assisted by Paul Dowling on bass, Ben Cooper drums, Rory McCarthy keyboards and Anna Mitchell backing vocals. A special mention also to Christian Best for recording, producing and mixing this album. The sound quality is exceptional in my view with everything sounding crisp, clear and immediate, which really captures the tight, live, band feel.

Opening track 'Tenderly' is a great introduction to the record. Lovely, muted electric guitar riff, killer drums, burbling bass line and atmospheric keyboards, all topped off with a superb vocal. I think I can hear the influences mentioned above but for me the most immediate reference point is John Mayer, both in Joey's sweetly fluid guitar playing and his strong, but slightly gruff vocal take. This does feel like proper, grown up rock music of the kind we do not hear too much of in England these days. It seems very pertinent that most of Joey's stated influences are American and I have found it hard to think of English comparisons so maybe there is a great big gap in the market, or possibly no market at all which is a bit more worrying!

'Disorder' is a slower song with another fine vocal, tight rhythm track and a very hooky, commercial chorus.

The third track 'Violet' is an early favourite of mine with its shuffle time feel, sweet guitar stabs and beautifully expressive singing from Joey.

'I Lay Down' is another strong number and its picked acoustic guitar intro reminded me of Bruce Springsteen's 'One Step Up', before heading off somewhere completely different. This has a relatively gentle vocal, but it is recorded so well that it genuinely does sound like he is in the same room singing!

I have listened to this album a lot since receiving it and there is not a weak track or filler here in my view. Joey is a fine guitarist and with his band effortlessly moves through rock, ballads, acoustic, blues and hints of funk at times whilst always sounding true to himself. He has a strong, distinctive voice and although John Mayer was my immediate reference point, in other songs he reminds a little of Elvis Costello and, for the older readers, William Topley from 90's band The Blessing.

Two other stand out tracks for me are 'This Is My Goodbye' and 'Thinking About'. 'This Is My Goodbye' enters in very courtly fashion on an arpeggiated guitar line and continues in beautifully understated fashion, which if anything makes the song even more powerful. 'Thinking About' is a straight forward, bar room rocker driving in on a joyous electric guitar riff that pushes the song through whilst sitting on top of yet another great drum and bass rhythm track. Lovely syncopation as well which prompted yet another reference point, the marvellous Dave Matthews Band.

'Fall Through The Night' is a thoroughly enjoyable album all round and bought home sharply that this sort of mature, melodic and accessible rock music is in short supply on these shores.

Strong song writing, a great voice and superbly tight ensemble playing all perfectly recorded and produced. An even greater treat would be to catch these songs live if Joey and his band get to tour the record, so I for one will be keeping an eye on his website.

Paul Jackson