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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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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

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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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Every single member of RP&TA plays in at least one other band. I play in a few and am very exited to tell you about one of them…

Luke Redfield is a musician who I have grown to like, not only as a musician, but as a person. I was initially turned on to his music by Jeremy Ylvisaker, who has played guitar on Luke’s records. In 2008, Luke asked me to fill in on some live shows. Learning Ylvis’ guitar parts was like being 19 years old all over again*.
Ephemeral Eon” is Redfield’s most recent album and I have been glued to it. I strongly recommend checking it out.
*For those who don’t know my history, I was a guitar tech for Jeremy  1999-2000.

Redfield travels all over the country and has lived in some of the strangest places, but he’s back in Minneapolis for a little while and I will be playing all of those dates.

Here are the shows he has lined up thus far:

1-22-10 @ 6:30 p.m.
Varsity Theater
BUY TICKETS NOW
Minneapolis, MN

1-28-10 @ 7 p.m.
The Whole, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

2-18-10 @ 9:30 p.m.
Lee’s Liquor Lounge
Minneapolis, MN

3-11-10 @ 9:30 p.m.
331 Club
Minneapolis, MN
With Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT (I’ll be pulling a double)

-Ryan Paul

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Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT has partnered up with NoiseTrade to offer you a copy of La Vita Nuova for free. It’s pretty simple… tell 5 friends, or simply pay whatever you want to. If you own it and you like it, this is a good way to get your friends in on it. If you don’t have it yet, you have very little to lose. NoiseTrade is an awesome company and we feel that the music industry is going in this direction.

Click Here for Your Free Copy of La Vita Nuova!

Official Website http://www.ryanpaulandtheardent.com

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Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT CD Release at 331

Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT CD Release at 331

June 19,2009 was a day/night I’ll never forget… THE ARDENT and I met up at the KARE11 studios at 8am on June 19th for our in-studio performance.

CD Release at 331: Eliza Blue opened the night.  Janey Winterbauer joined us on stage for 4 songs (Including “Wiser Time” cover). Brian Just and band closed us out. I want to urge you all to download the copy of this show! It is so fun! FREE! Do it! CD RELEASE SHOW DOWNLOAD

Also –  Good friend and ex-King Freud member Jordan Carlson filled in for Steve Goold at The Stone Arch Festival. This show is also available for DOWNLOAD

La Vita Nuova by Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT

  1. Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT La Vita Nuova coverMeet Me Where I Am*
  2. More of You
  3. Seen It All**
  4. Stubborn Lover**
  5. It’s You**
  6. Second To Numb**
  7. Melinda
  8. Unconditioned
  9. Beautiful Surprise*
  10. La Vita Nuova
  11. Nothing Can Destroy

* Jimmy Peterson (Bellwether/757s/Missing Numbers) – Slide Guitar
** Janey Winterbauer (Janey & Marc/Astronaut Wife) – Vocals

“…La Via Nova, comes after Paul spent some time living in New York City, so perhaps that explains the slightly urban and gritty quality to the work that separates it out from the legions of Jayhawks imitators in their midst.” – Twin Cities Metromix

La Vita Nuova is available at local Minneapolis record stores (Cheapo, Electric Fetus, Treehouse) NOW and will be available with on-line retailers on July 16.

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Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT at 331

– Tired of not knowing how La Vita Nuova is going to sound? Don’t want to wait until June 19 for the CD Release Show? Well, we kind of budged a little on our tight lip policy and released a copy of “It’s You” to our friends at howwastheshow.com

Take a listen: http://howwastheshow.blogspot.com/2009/05/exclusive-preview-of-its-you-from-ryan.html

– Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT will be performing on KARE 11’s Showcase Minnesota on June 19 at 10AM. With special guest Janey Winterbauer.

– See you June 19 @ 331 Club in NE Minneapolis for the CD RELEASE with Brian Just, Eliza Blue, and special guest Janey Winterbauer to perform with THE ARDENT.

RP&TA

Official Site: http://www.ryanpaulandtheardent.com

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