Posts Tagged ‘Alt. Country’

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

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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

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!

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In honor of Veteran’s Day, Invisible Button Entertainment partners with the Salvation Army to present a special charity music event at the Aster Cafe featuring acclaimed local indie artists Ryan Paul & The Ardent, Minor Kingdom and Jeremy Ylvisaker.

A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the VET Housing Program which provides vital housing and social services to homeless veterans transitioning into self-sufficiency.

In addition, Invisible Button Entertainment will match all ticket sale donations. Space is limited so please make reservations at the Aster Cafe. This event is brought to you by Invisible Button Entertainment, Ryan Paul & The Ardent, The Salvation Army and the Aster Cafe.

November 11, 2010
9:00 pm
Aster Cafe
125 SE Main Street

$7 / $5 with donation of bathroom or
kitchen utensils
Reserve a seat at:
Aster Cafe | 612.379.3138

So there are the official details on the event we have coming up on November 11th. What you don’t know is that Lily Troia of Invisible Button Entertainment asked me what I wanted to do for my (ahem) 3oth birthday. I told her that I wanted to do some kind of show and that I wanted to do something decent for my community.

Lily took both of those requests and paired them with a benefit show for a VET house in Minneapolis that gives aid to homeless veterans. Many of these veterans suffer from addiction issues, which is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I was absolutely thrilled to hear about this AND that Invisible Button will be matching the money raised at the event!

Then the billing finalized with RPTA playing with Minor Kingdom (a band I have enjoyed playing with over the last few months) and one of my oldest friends (and musical hero #2 – after Morrissey) Jeremy Ylvisaker.

Top it off with us playing at The Aster Cafe, which is owned and run (from top to bottom) by many of my closest pals.

I urge you to get your reservations and come out for this incredible evening of music (and we’ll raise a few bucks for a good cause!).

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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.

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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

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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.

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I’m very excited to announce that Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT will be playing the Minneapolis ARTCRANK opening on April 10th. In short, ARTCRANK is a community of local cycling artists who create incredible original work surrounding their passions: cycling and the city. The pieces are inexpensive ($30) and quite possibly the coolest thing(s) you can hang on your wall. More info by clicking on the image above.

If you are not a hardcore biker, this event is still for you. It is a total blast! This will be my second year. Free entry. Free food and drink. And a free set by myself & THE ARDENT. We’ll be playing around 10pm, when it is reasonable to get good and loud. Mark your calendar and BE THERE!

*Now, for my personal note about the gig (why does this always happen?)*

I like ARTCRANK a lot. It starts with the fact that I am a cyclist who enjoys using my bike for the majority of my transportation needs. I like the fact that they write the name in all caps. I like sweet art for $30. I love the people who are involved.

If you click on the ARTCRANK website, you’ll notice a list of partners along the left-hand side. I have a few notes on some mentioned (and some not):

There’s this group of people who work underneath a ton of cool events going on throughout the city. They scope the scene, absorb artists and musicians they like, and try to push them to the front of the proverbial “line”. RPandTA got sucked up by this group quite some time ago.

The (not creepy) illuminati-esque  group I speak of is comprised of, but not limited to, Dena Alspach with Metro Magazine, Kate O’Reilly with O’Reilly Creative, and (my bff) elli rader of Paperlily.

O’Reilly Creative & Paperlily teamed up to put on The Jennefit last week. Dena is quite a bit more visible, and took on The Metro 100 Party in 2009. Those are just a few mentions. The group has conspired on quite a few assignments over the course of the last year.

It was elli who put me face-to-face with, ARTCRANK Director and Curator, Charles Youel, at Art-A-Whirl in 2009. From that point on, I have kept up with Charles and have grown quite fond of his daily musings and receptive spirit. It is/was an honor to be asked to perform at this gallery opening. I woulda been there supporting it anyhow!

Please come support ARTCRANK by purchasing some prints or just hanging out! I don’t see any 331 dates on the working calendar, so this may be your last chance to catch RPandTA for free in the coming months.

Just do it, K?

P.S. I got my copy of the “Cute Souvenirs Sessions” EP that we will be releasing in June. It’s pretty dang good. Get excited.

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Ryan Paul sat down with The Onion to discuss some of what can be expected from the band in 2010… “Ryan Paul Switches It Up”

Ryan Paul Plewacki may be best known for his long stint in Minneapolis jam band God Johnson, but he’s since left to try out less patchouli-scented sounds. 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 group, which will take the stage at the Turf Club Feb. 4, is currently working on its yet-untitled sophomore album—and the new material sounds suspiciously like power-pop. The A.V. Club got in touch with Plewacki to talk about the shift in style, why it’s cool that his dad is in the band, and how the world’s biggest Cracker fan made his time in Buffalo, N.Y., a little more bearable.

The A.V. Club: What was the thought process behind your change in sound?

Ryan Paul Plewacki:
Americana was uncomfortable when I went at it. I had never done it before. For me, it was new territory. I was totally satisfied with it at the time and scared by it. When Jaim Zuber started playing steel guitar for us, I was floored and practically peeing my pants at the same time. I had never seen one of those that close before. But now I’m done with that. So I am pushing to go wherever this head goes. Every single time I sit down to play, I have no idea what is going to come out. I record it. If it’s trash, I file it away and possibly pull it out later because maybe it wasn’t trash. Maybe I wasn’t ready, but it has to be uncomfortable. It’s not possible for me to progress if I’m comfortable and I’m not spending time on a spinning planet while I’m sitting still.

AVC: Are your albums going to be all over the map like, say, Ween, or is this a more natural progression?

RP: As much as I love Ween, I can’t quite go that far out. I have no idea how Zappa sang songs like “Catholic Girls” with a straight face. There is obviously an element of humor in what Zappa did, and Dean and Gene do. I, on the other hand, am very serious about what I write. These songs are about relationships. These songs are about expectations. These songs are about struggles, triumphs, losses. I understand that Zappa’s “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” was very epic in its own right and is certainly a real-life issue that people deal with on a daily basis, but I am looking a little deeper.

AVC: How did your dad come to be in the band?

Well, The Ardent was just supposed to be one gig. I just had to get it out of my system. So I picked the best musicians I know. You know, like an end-of-the-world party. From a practical angle, Pops is one of my favorite guitar players. From a mushier angle, Pops is my hero. No matter how much I didn’t want to admit it, I always wanted to be just like him. He taught me how to play, off and on—I wasn’t the easiest student. We dropped off because of my life decisions. He couldn’t stand by and watch me doing what I was doing. I called Pops in the middle of the night from Buffalo, begging for a plane ticket back home. He not only flew me back, he flew me back first-class! When that kind of thing happens, there is a weird bond that solidifies and becomes nearly unbreakable.

AVC: You were in a lot of trouble with drugs, right?

Huge! I mean, it wasn’t really drugs as much as it was drinking. I was throwing up due to nerves before a gig at Five Corners, which is now The Nomad, and one of the other guys said, “You’re supposed to do that after.” When I explained I wasn’t drunk, he said, “You know, there are ways to calm that down.” It happened really, really quickly after that. I didn’t sit with the beer for very long, I went almost immediately to whiskey. It got to the point where I was drinking all day. I’d get to the venue to do sound-check, finish, go find another bar, drink myself stupid, and come back and pass out. The only thing that can wake you up from that is cocaine. It became “Well, this will wake me up [for the show], and then I can drink for even longer afterwards.” I went to rehab and I drank the day that I got out. Then I started running. New York was the bulk of it, which was awesome—hanging out on people’s couches until they started asking for rent, then I’d move on. The final place I ended up was Buffalo, New York. My idea was that I was going to go up there and dry out. All people do up there is dip food in bleu cheese dressing and drink. That’s it, there’s no industry, nothing. It was the absolute worst place for me. I couldn’t leave my apartment because there was, like, 45 feet of snow outside. I got to a point where I was going three weeks without a shower and not leaving the house to do anything.

AVC: Does Buffalo have any redeeming qualities?

There is only one thing I can think of: There is this bar called The Old Pink. That’s what people call it. It doesn’t have a name on the building. For whatever reason, you can totally smoke in there. There is a bartender named Drew. He will tell you anything you ever wanted to know about Cracker. I’m serious—anything. He will spin Cracker bootlegs his entire shift. It’s amazing! I’m a pretty mediocre Cracker fan, but I am a fountain of Cracker knowledge after bellying up to Drew’s bar.

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Hi there. Hey there. Ho there.

We have announced some February and March dates. There will be plenty more to come. The first is Feb 4 @ The Turf Club in St. Paul. We love that venue and absolutely love the bands we are playing with. Check HERE for all of our announced dates!


Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT, Al Church & State, Sam Keenan at Turf Club

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Just wanted to give you a quick reminder about the volumes of live music we offer for free. You can download in flac, mp3, and just about any other file type you can think of. Once on the archive site, you can scroll along the right hand side and find shows that date all the way back to 2008. These are not full shows – these are some of our favorite moments.

Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT – Live Music Archive
12.3.09 at Turf Club with Kid Dakota
11.24.09 at 7th St Entry with Sam Roberts (with a very cool Beck cover)
Metro Magazine 100 Party
… and plenty more

ALSO – Ryan has been posting his “Winter Tapes 2010
These are songs recorded by Ryan in his apartment during the long cold winter in Minneapolis

Once you have got used to some of these live recordings, check the calendar. RP&TA has gone through some changes. So next show may be totally different…


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If you were in Minnesota this weekend, you noticed the frigid subzero weather. I tried to pass the time reading and listening to music, but eventually went a bit stir crazy. I was picking through my vinyl and pulled out some Dwight Yoakam records. I decided to pull the minimal resources available and paid tribute to Dwight with my own version of “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”:

Free download. Pass it on to friends. And check out the other live recordings on that site!

-Ryan Paul

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