Feeds:
Posts
Comments

We have two really fun gigs coming up this week. The first is Thursday, October 7th at the Kitty Cat Klub with our new friends In The Cinema and Telepathos.

The second is Friday, October 8th at The 331 Club with a fellow Invisible Button band, Liminal Phase. This group is an absolute trip. I saw them a few months ago and sat in the front row of the theater with my jaw in my lap. We’re talking wild instrumentals, thick arrangements, and tasteful melodies. Also on the bill is Jeremy Ylvisaker. Jeremy is a dear friend who really showed me the ropes in the Minneapolis music scene over 10 years ago.

Rumor has it that Jeremy will be toting some form of a new project called Guitar Party. This band features members of Halloween Alaska, Andrew Bird, Why?, Dosh, Alpha Consumer, Fog, Heatdeath, Mpls. Dub Ensemble, Eyedea and Abilities, etc.. their singer is a first grader at Hale Elementary. Again, I am not certain which formation will be at the 331, but I was promised a “quadruple guitar attack”.

Both of these shows are FREE! Be at one or both of them.

On September 9th, we’ll join our good friends Luke Redfield and Bethany Larson at our favorite little venue in Minneapolis. This is an exciting gig as it feels like ages since we have crammed on stage at the 331 Club.

Luke Redfield is a musician who I have been honored to play with for nearly 2 years now. His songs are catchy and his lyrics are thought provoking. He is also one of my dearest pals and I never grow tired of gigging with him. Luke is a bit nomadic and we don’t get him year-round and, last I heard, he is planning to head back to Austin, TX soon. You might want to catch him while you can. This means, on this particular night, I’ll be pulling a double!

Bethany Larson has shared a bill with us once before and the 5 of us were quite impressed. She has an incredible voice and a real gift for weaving a melody. In the very least, I’m looking forward to this as an excuse to hear her again!

.rp

Here is our July 1, 2010 EP Release Show at Bryant Lake Bowl. Thank you to Ryan Cahill for filming and editing this together. He did a great job and we barely knew he was there.

Make sure to ride “Slow.Steady” out to the end. Cool stuff happens there!

Chelsea

It’s You

All Along

Nothing Can Destroy

What Goes On (Velvet Underground)

La Vita Nuova

Meet Me Where I Am

You Never Give Me Your Money (Beatles cover Featuring Janey Winterbauer)

Slow.Steady (Featuring Janey Winterbauer, Mark Shwandt, and Alexander Young)

Sometimes they come back…

August is here and I have some exciting news to share about a show we have coming up in the middle of the month. We will be supporting Ryan Traster at his EP Release show on August 13.

A little over two years ago, we played a show at a venue (which will remain nameless) in Minneapolis that we considered to be the worst gig we have played. So much so that when we stumble on tough gigs, we say “At least it’s better than…”.
*I want to clarify that the venue itself was not at fault and the bands that joined us were lovely. It was simply an off night.

One of the groups performing that evening were called To Reinvent. Cool name, right? A few years had passed and I heard nothing of the band again (noting that I am not always in the loop on these things). In June of this year, I received an email from Ryan Traster, a member of To Reinvent, asking if I was still in New York. The reason being was that he is now living/performing there and wanted to double bill some shows.

After a short exchange, we decided on a date, not in New York, but at home in Minneapolis. I agreed to the date without having heard the EP that the evening was celebrating. However, I have since given it a listen and am blown away by the talent and maturity of the young songwriter.

So please check out his tunes here: http://ryantrastermusic.com/

And join us at Sauce on August 13 as we celebrate the release of his new EP.

Two weeks prior to the Cute Souvenirs release show, I did an interview with Rob Van Alstyne from City Pages. The discussion was brief, but I was astonished by the questions he was asking. It’s always interesting when you are asked about things you actually want to talk about.

At any rate, the article is one of my faves that has ever been written about us, so I thought I’d share…

A Troubadour’s Redemption
By Rob van Alstyne Wednesday, Jun 30 2010

“Meet Me Where I Am,” the first song on Ryan Paul Plewacki’s debut album, paints a harrowing portrait of a young man in trouble: alone on the streets, meandering in a county library, too tired to move, and struggling with addiction. The details make the song ring true for a simple reason—Plewacki lived the song before he wrote it.

Most of the songs on my first record were composed as I was going through the early stages of recovery,” explains Plewacki of the tunes that make up 2009’s La Vita Nuova, released with his backing band under the name Ryan Paul & the Ardent. “It’s inevitable when you’re in that position to take stock of everything, think about all the bridges you burned. I found myself at the end of treatment [for alcohol and drug addiction] just standing over a crumbling mess and wondering what to do next. Those feelings all made their way into the first record. I’m three years removed from that now but it’s still obviously a huge part of my life.”

With a reedy conversational singing voice that recalls Television’s Tom Verlaine, a degree in working-man’s rock riffs from the Drive By Truckers school, and hard-won wisdom to spare, Plewacki and his band are rapidly rising on the local roots-rock scene. The ascent should only hasten with this week’s release of a new rough-and-tumble digital EP, the Cute Souvenir Sessions. While its predecessor was painstakingly assembled over an eight-month period, Cute Souvenir‘s four tracks came together fast and furious by necessity.

“The bottom line was I only had $500 at the time to record something and really wanted a document of the band that felt truer than La Vita Nuova,” explains Plewacki. “Eventually we linked up with Matt Patrick of Greycoats, who runs the Library recording studio, and he was excited about working with us but also said he would hold us firm to the $500 limit, which was important. We ended up tracking and mixing the entire thing in one 10-hour day.”

While it’s a dubious critical endeavor to make too much of a hastily assembled mini-album that clocks in at under 20 minutes, Cute Souvenirs nonetheless shows Ryan Paul & the Ardent as a band rapidly outgrowing the alt-country label slapped on their debut. While they’ve clearly still got loping balladry on lockdown, as evidenced by EP opener “All Along,” they also make compelling stabs at Summerteeth-ish pop (the synthesizer-buoyed “Chelsea”) and group-harmony-heavy campfire sing-alongs (closing track “Another Time”). Not bad for a day’s work. The glue holding it all together is Plewacki’s voice, perhaps an acquired taste, but one that ultimately helps to make his music stand out in a field of often indistinguishable twang affectations.

“I always wonder how many people on the planet told Tom Waits not to sing when he was starting out,” jokes Plewacki. “Back in my college days I was always the one who got to do the covers that lent themselves to bad vocals. I sang ‘Up on Cripple Creek‘ a lot. Being a singer was never anything I envisioned for myself back when I was playing guitar in other bands. Once these songs came out of me, though, I knew I would have to be the one to sing them. The songs are flawed, the stories are flawed, and only my flawed voice really makes sense singing them.”

With work already underway on a sophomore full-length that looks to split the difference between his highly refined debut and minimalist warts-and-all EP (“I’d like a little more than 10 hours this time,” he says), Plewacki is clearly energized by what lies ahead and is at peace with his turbulent past.

“For me, by the time I hit my early twenties all I really cared about was the drugs and booze and craziness in hotel rooms that came with playing music,” recalls Plewacki, now 29, reflecting on the time he spent in the early 2000s playing guitar with jam bands like Big Wu offshoot God Johnson. “I had no passion for the music itself. When I was in early recovery I thought I was completely done with making music. Gradually, I ended up falling back in love with it. Now I feel like I have the same passion for music in my heart that I had as a teenager. I’m back to going to as many shows as possible, running up to the stage to check out people’s pedals with my mouth agape—just generally acting like a giddy school girl whenever I’m around music. I feel like that same teenager all over again—admittedly with a little less hair on my head—and it feels great.” Full Article

We are pleased to announce a few details about our EP release show.

Vita.mn Presents Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT EP Release Show

Thursday, July 1 – Cute Souvenirs Session EP Release Show –
with guest Janey Winterbauer and a set by Zoo Animal
Bryant Lake Bowl Theater – Minneapolis, MN
$8 advance – $10 door. Buy Tickets Online (June 1) at BrownPaperTickets.com
or BLB Box Office: 612-825-8949

Doors: 9:30pm
Music: 10:00 (sharp)

Featuring a artwork by John Alspach, Jenn Barnett, Wing Huie, Alexandra KSara Montourelli rader, and Stacy Shwartz

Presented by Invisible Button Entertainment
Sponsored by Vita.mn

Bookmark  and Share

June 10, 2010 is the online release of our new EP, Cute Souvenirs Session. The EP was tracked and mixed in one ten-hour session in Minneapolis, MN.

“The EP exhibits an impressive development in craftsmanship, as well as a much darker character that has acquired comparisons of such opposing artists; The Cure, The Smiths and Arcade Fire” – Sophie Stratford, Indie Music Finds (London)

“While Ryan Paul & The Ardent’s debut album, 2009’s La Vita Nuova, was pure neo-Americana, don’t expect a repeat performance on the follow-up… the new material sounds suspiciously like power-pop” – Pat O’Brien, A.V Club (Minneapolis)

And so…

1.All Along
2. Chelsea
3. Slow.Steady
4. Another Time

You will find that the EP is available on Amazon, iTunes, and several other retailers. However, above will link you to our store where you can choose your track quality (even flac) and will have the complete artwork and liner notes. So, when purchasing, please come to us: http://ryanpaulandtheardentstudio.bandcamp.com

Don’t forget that our EP release show with Zoo Animal is coming up on July 1. Tickets are already selling quickly. See here for details on how to purchase them.

Bookmark  and Share

Quickly: I was a last minute side-note to a very cool event that happened last weekend at The Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. Local music legend, Adam Levy, and Lily Troia of Invisible Button Entertainment put together a sold out show called “A Tribute to Al Kooper: Featuring Al Kooper“.

If you are unaware of the name Al Kooper, you wouldn’t be the first. However, I promise you that you have heard Al and you didn’t know it. Have you ever heard “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones? He produced that. Have you ever had a voyage into Southern Rock by listening to Lynyrd Synyrd? He discovered and produced them. You know that amazing organ part on “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan? You guessed it, Al Kooper.

The first half of the evening was thick with talent and anticipation as local musicians Adam Levy, Alicia Wiley, Alison Scott, Kevin Bowe, Erik Koskinen, Brian Just, David Campbell, Martin Devaney, Kate Murray, Joe Savage, Ashleigh Still, John Eller [there are more… my hands are tired] performed Kooper’s songs with Al giving a pre recorded intro and story to each. After a short intermission, Kooper himself took the stage.

The encore was especially cool to me as I was able to take the stage with all of these fine folks to sing half a verse of “Like A Rolling Stone”, sandwiched between Erik Koskinen and Martin Devaney and Mr Al Kooper to my right grinding away at the Hammond organ. What a thrill!

I sat back and recalled the short period of time that made that experience possible. You see, we played Palmer’s on Thursday with Patches & Gretchen. It was hot and sticky and sweaty and awesome. With the absence of Steve Goold, we had our friend Jeffrey Dunitz beating on some noise makers and Cory Eischen provided us with a robotic drummer to fill in the rest. It was so weird!

Halfway through that set, the door flung open and there was Lily, Adam, and Al. My first internal reaction was You brought him to this gig!?!? I tried to forget that there was a musical legend in the room and the five of us rocked the end of that set as hard as we could with what we had (Levy hopped on some percussion for our closer, making it extra cool and unique).

To make a long story short, I was able to have a really nice conversation with someone I never thought I’d meet (much less at Palmer’s) and I got an invite to sing on stage with them all on Sunday.

Al Kooper Tribute by Stephen Cohen
Photo by Stephen Cohen

My lesson: You never know who you’ll run into at Palmer’s.

Thanks Lily, Adam, and Al.
.rp

Bookmark  and Share

Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT - Patches & Gretchen

This week we will be performing with the critically acclaimed Patches & Gretchen. Gretchen Seichrist is Aimee Mann’s sister. However, I don’t hear any of Aimee in what Gretchen has done with her music. In describing Patches & Gretchen, the Star Tribune said, “Imagine Chrissie Hynde if she were really into barbecue, or Patti Smith if she knew how to make hot dish, and you get an idea of the odd charm and meaty power.” Yeah. That. But in a rad sorta way.

I remember seeing Gretchen posting video after video of her songs on facebook. The woman is certainly prolific.

When we juggled the idea of where we wanted to do this gig, Palmer’s came up. I’ve never played in there. I haven’t actually been in there since college. So this is going to be a first time adventure for me. I keep on telling people that I’m not sure what this gig is going to be like – because I don’t have a clue. However, I think that with the ingredients going into the night, it will probably be one we talk about for a long time…

Join us:
Thursday, April 29
10pm
Palmer’s
500 Cedar Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55454-1224
$3


I’m really excited to announce that our song, “Meet Me Where I Am“, will be part of Wing Huie’s “University Avenue Project”.

Presented by Public Art Saint Paul, Wing Young Huie’s University Avenue Project: The Language of Urbanism, a Six-Mile Photographic Inquiry, will transform a major urban thoroughfare in Saint Paul, Minnesota, into a six-mile public gallery of over 400 photographs. Wing’s images reveal the dizzying socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic realities of the citizens who work, live, and go to school along this corridor that is jammed with storefronts, taverns, big-box retailers, blue-collar neighborhoods and condominium communities.

Built and still sustained by immigrant populations of the late 19th century, the University Avenue corridor is now home to one of America’s highest concentrations of new immigrants. Blending documentary photography with revelatory statements by his subjects, Wing has created a tapestry of images and words that raise complex issues of race, class, gender, sexual preference, immigration, religion and cultural disconnection. The University Avenue Project is a chronicle the colliding and evolving American experience.

More than than 70 store windows and surfaces form the gallery and stretch from the Minneapolis border to the Minnesota State Capitol. Large mural scale images on building walls will be visible for blocks.A spectacular Project(ion) site created by Northern Lights.mn will nightly project Wing’s images onto billboard-size screens, accompanied by recorded soundtracks from local musicians.

This opportunity was a huge honor for me as a songwriter. I am not only an appreciator of Wing Huie’s work, but credit him as partially responsible for a song like “Meet Me Where I Am” existing in my songbook.

At twenty years old, I lived in Uptown Minneapolis. As a young adult who had been raised in the suburbs, lived in Uptown, and played gigs downtown and in Dinkytown, I had never ventured into the Chicago/Lake area of South Minneapolis. I had been warned for years about how dangerous it was and avoided it at all costs.

In July of 2000 I had to take the 21 Bus down Lake Street all the way to downtown St. Paul. I remember passing by the boarded up Sears building (now the Midtown Global Market) and seeing Huie’s photos up from his “Lake Street USA” exhibit. I peered out the smudged bus window with eyes wide open and curiosity piqued.

On the way back to Minneapolis I nervously pulled the stop cord on the 21 Bus and stepped out onto Lake Street and Chicago Avenue. I wandered up and down the street all afternoon looking at Wing’s stunning photography. When the sun was starting to creep below the buildings I noticed that I had been on those “dangerous” blocks for hours and had not yet been robbed or beat up. In fact, no one even looked at me funny (which is something that happens to me daily in the Uptown neighborhood).

Fast forward a few years and you’ll find me riding in a car driving around the urban neighborhoods of South Minneapolis and writing down some of the thoughts that would go into “Meet Me Where I Am”. I also spent nearly two years living at Oakland Ave. and Lake St., which is the very same neighborhood I had been so terrified to set foot in.

To me, Wing Huie’s work does not say that these neighborhoods are impoverished and in need of assistance. I don’t see gangs, crime, drugs. These images do not strike me with fear. No, I look at those photographs and see beauty that I may not have ever seen without his nudge to get outside myself and off of the bus. In the eyes of the people Huie has photographed, I see hard years which have apportioned them rich with cognition, substance, and plenty of joy.

Please join me and several others as we celebrate the opening of this extraordinary exhibit on May 1, 2010. Details can be found HERE.

Ryan Paul
Bookmark  and Share