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Posts Tagged ‘Adam Levy’

“Ryan Paul & The Ardent, whose tune has changed recently from moody to majestic and is definitely one to watch in 2011.” – Twin Cities Metromix

As a songwriter, I have gone through several phases. When this band started up, I was writing Americana/alt-country music. Most of those tunes were put on our first record, La Vita Nuova. In early 2010, I was writing music that took us far enough away from the Americana genre, that a complete reformat was necessary. In order to document that change, we tracked Cute Souvenirs Session EP in a quick 10 hour session.

At the start of 2011, I found myself with a new batch of songs. I guess I’m not even sure how to sum them up. I had assumed that I was moving in the same bracket that held songs from Cute Souvenirs. However, upon debuting two of the songs at The Southern Songbook, co-host and friend, Adam Levy said, “Judging by this new batch of songs, I think you have moved into a good place.” The (above) quote from Metromix came shortly after.

Could it be that different? Maybe it’s not. I’m not sure if I am growing into something or if I am moving through another phase. Either way, I am having fun sorting through these new compositions with the band. We’ve just begun toying with them. There is really no telling where they can go…

I invite you to judge for yourself. Please stream and download a recent show FOR FREE.

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Hey All! Wanted to post a quick video for you of Ryan Paul playing “Wonderful Way” with Aby Wolf, Adam Levy, and The Heiruspecs at the Southern Theater on Valentines Day. ENJOY!

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In 2009 I started something called “Video Confessions”. It was a well intended plan that yielded two videos. Now, two years later, I am vowing to pick it up again. So, I’m starting here…

On February 14, I will be playing the Southern Songbook. This show will house many of my favorite songwriters in Minneapolis as well as the Hieruspecs acting as the backing band. What a thrill! So, here is the video of my first (and only) rehearsal for this killer show.

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Every year, I like to take a look back on the amazing things that happened and learn from the events that could be improved on. Without a doubt, 2010 brought plenty from both columns. Overall, RPandTA saw some major changes at the start of the year and rolled with them like champs.

Fun facts about 2010:

  1. In 2010, Ryan Paul & The Ardent rehearsed for a total of 45 minutes…
  2. Having rehearsed 45 minutes, we introduced a handful of new tunes
  3. None of those tunes were gone through at that rehearsal

There’s a new boss in town…
At the end of 2009, I was in meetings with Invisible Button Entertainment and turned control over to Lily Troia on January 1st of 2010. With Lily taking a great deal of responsibility from my shoulders, I was able to discern where I wanted the band’s sound to go. After conferring with mentors and band members, prayer and reflection on the previous year, I decided to ask my friend Cory Eischen to play keyboards and to help me define some of the noise that was going on in the back of my head.

It’s like a piano, but goes weeeoooo…
Cory Eischen took the call, took the job, and was thrown into his first show without a rehearsal. He was then thrown into six months of shows without practice. Cory will tell you that this is not how he would’ve planned it. It wasn’t ideal for the band either, but it was how the calendar worked for us. On top of the heavy gigging schedule, we pulled Cory into the studio in February with 10 hours to perfect an EP.

10 hours…
After discussion with Invisible Button, we decided it was important to document the changes in the band with a studio project. We went on to track Cute Souvenirs EP, which was tracked and mixed in 10 hours. Believe me, I would have liked more time, but we had very little cash to make this thing happen.

In the humblest of places…
It’s funny how you meet heroes in the strangest places. Almost none of my favorite stories start out with a band playing their dream show and were suddenly met by an industry professional or legend. No, in fact they all seem to happen under the worst circumstances. Such is the case with my meeting Al Kooper.
We were playing at Palmer’s in the West Bank, on the floor, with no drummer (and a drum machine to fill in) and hardly playing our best. Of course, Mr. Al Kooper walked in with Lily and Adam Levy. After our set, Al asked to speak to me. The first words out of my mouth were “We didn’t have a drummer.” I am guessing you can imagine Al’s response.
My relationship with Al continues to this day and he has been a valuable source of insight (being that he is usually the first to hear my songs when I record them in my living room in the middle of the night).

I love lists. I’d like to give you two:

Top 5 Shows of 2010:

  1. EP Release concert at Bryant Lake Bowl Theatre (July 1, 2010)
    – Amazing performance by Zoo Animal. We were joined by Janey Winterbauer, Alexander Young, and Mark Shwandt on stage. Sold out performance.
  2. Salvation Army Benefit at Aster Cafe (November 11, 2010)
    Alpha Consumer + Dosh and Minor Kingdom played killer sets. We raised hundreds of dollars for Salvation Army. Sold out performance.
  3. Jennefit, a benefit for Jenn Barnett at the Turf Club (March 26, 2010)
    – Too many amazing artists to list participated in this show. Lots of money was raised for a great artist. Jeremy Ylvisaker helped us kill our set.
  4. Palmers with Patches & Gretchen (April 29, 2010)
    – Not many people at this show. Steve Goold couldn’t make it. We set up on the modest floor of Palmers. But then Al Kooper walked in…
  5. ARTCRANK 2010 at Shelter Studios (April 10, 2010)
    – I don’t think we’ve ever played for as many people. The mood was right. The art was great.  It was too much fun!

Top 5 covers of 2010:

  1. “You Never Give Me Your Money” – The Beatles (video)
    -Sung with Janey Winterbauer. We love her so.
  2. “Death of a Disco Dancer” – The Smiths (video)
    -At the Jennefit, Jeremy Ylvisaker and Steve made this song cruise!
  3. “Pictures of You” – The Cure (audio)
    -I am unblushingly affectionate about The Cure and this song has been a pleasure to play.
  4. “What Goes On” – The Velvet Underground (video)
    -While it is impossible to do Lou justice, it is a blast to try.
  5. “Untitled 101” – Peter Wolf Crier (audio)
    -Is it lame to cover your friends? Possibly, but I couldn’t resist.

My favorite moment of 2010: Here you go.

2011…
I believe in setting goals. I know that no goal can be met without a solid plan. In the last three months, I have been developing methods to achieve the (possibly lofty) marks I have set for this band for the upcoming year. I realize that I am just one person and that it will take a community to make all of these aspirations a reality.
I am humbled by the talent that I have in place in THE ARDENT. I am grateful for the skills and talents of Lily Troia. I am fortunate to have friends in this city who are talented enough and embody the know-how to get things done.
Charles Youel from ARTCRANK said, “I can’t help it. I know cool people.” in one of our recent discussions. Charles does know cool people. And I know cool people too (Charles is one of them) and I think it is time to start asking for input from that solid group. Our 2011 release is planned to be done at several different studios around Minneapolis. Because of a tight budget, we will be producing the record ourselves, but Adam Levy has graciously offered to swing by and give us tips and pointers as we go along. One of the studios we had planned on working with was Instrument Control studios in St. Paul. That studio was raided and robbed on Christmas day. Please help in the search for that equipment.
rp

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If I remember correctly, we closed out 2009 at The Entry with Sam Roberts Band. Our last show of 2010 will, again, be at The Entry with our friends The Goondas and Kicks & Spurs: December 16th

Click for Details

Then, on December 17th, I (Ryan) will join The Honeydogs at The Dakota. Adam has asked me to join them on one of theirs and… one of my own! Other musicians include: Janey Winterbauer, Martin Devaney, Savannah Smith.

Reserve tickets and a table now at www.dakotacooks.com or call 612-332-5299.

Friday, December 17, 2010
7:00pm
$15

Honeydogs with Ryan Paul Plewacki

Have a safe and meaningful holiday season! We will see you again in January at the Aster Cafe with Grant Cutler… WOOT!
.rp

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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.

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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

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