RYAN BLOTNICK RELEASES SOLO, VOLUME 1 AS DIGITAL ONLY ALBUM
Third Release Finds Acclaimed Guitarist Infusing his Jazz Compositions with a Distinctive Classical Sensibility
"Intense and thoughtful... both audacious and reasonable." Nate Chinen, New York Times
"Really beautiful stuff." - Ben Monder
"Man, this album is so good!" - Mike Gamble, The InBetweens
"I’m not ashamed to say it. I love this record." Rich DeCicco, audiodojo.com
With two highly acclaimed albums for Songlines to his credit (Music Needs You, 2008 and Everything Forgets, 2009), guitarist Ryan Blotnick decided to head in a distinctively different direction – both literally and figuratively – for his next release. A couple of years back, looking to reconnect with nature and his home state, Ryan began spending increasingly lengthy summers in Bar Harbor, Maine. Playing regular solo gigs around town provided him with the chance to expand his repertoire and hone his fingerstyle approach to the guitar.
“I was looking for new material and I started fooling around with the classical guitar. I never had any classical training but I had the nylon string lying around and tried to work out some Villa-Lobos preludes, and was listening to Segovia a lot,” he says.
Back in New York, where he’d been performing with the Leif Arntzen Band, the Michael Blake Band, James Ilgenfritz’ Anagram Ensemble, Akoya Afrobeat, writing music for his brother’s feature film “Gods and Kings,” and working on a folk-rock project called “the Ghost of Arthur James” with Anthony Sferra and producer Chris Brown, Ryan decided to take his classically inspired explorations further and work some of his jazz compositions into solo pieces. He relocated to the Amherst/Northhampton area of Massachusetts, where he felt closer to the muse he’d chosen to follow.
“After spending a lot of time in New York I realized that I had sort of lost a little bit of what I thought was my own creative impulse to make music. And I had digressed into that mindset of trying to figure out what someone else might want me to sound like, or hoping for some sort of magical formula that would open up new opportunities for me. It dawned on me that I needed to take a step back and spend a winter with a concrete goal that gave me an excuse to spend a lot of time practicing the guitar and kind of introverting.”
The resulting album, Solo, Volume 1, was shaped by Ryan’s discovery of a rather unique old guitar. “Every track except for one, ‘Intermellem,’ was recorded with my new/old 1959 Martin 00-18. It’s a strange model where they were experimenting with electronics, so they put a single coil pickup and volume and tone knobs in this otherwise normal acoustic guitar. When I plugged it into an old Deluxe at the store it sounded so good that I took the money my roommates had paid me for their security deposits out of my savings and spent the next summer bartending and doing carpentry and maintenance work on an island in Maine to pay for it. And that guitar really influenced the whole sound of this album, especially since I could experiment with different effects and put it through an amp.
Ryan cites numerous specific influences on his work on Solo, Volume 1, including the solo guitar playing of Lenny Breau, Leo Kottke, Joe Pass, Marc Ribot, and Neil Young. He sees this release as the first in a series of albums that will explore the possi bilities of the electric and acoustic guitars, bridging the genres of jazz, classical, Americana, and pure improvisation in an intimate and accessible setting. It was recorded without any overdubs and captures the intensity of a live studio performance.
Ryan’s previous two recordings earned strong reviews from such jazz and non-jazz-centric outlets as Jazz Times, which called Everything Forgets an “adventurous outing,” and Popmatters, which paid particular attention to his solo work on Music Needs You, saying, “Blotnick’s imaginative, lyrical solos lift forward and backward, twisting melody around and edging toward harmonic extremes…” His work has been praised by such well respected media outlets as the New York Times, Time Out New York, JazzTimes, Blogcritics.com, and the Ottowa Citizen.
The recording and mixing were done in 24 bits/88.2K – available at: ryanblotnick.bandcamp.com
More info: www.ryanblotnick.com