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Posts Tagged ‘Cory Eischen’

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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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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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

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I would first like to drop a quick note and say that I loved the jennefit. It was a heck of a time. I was able to take care of a few things that I had been meaning to check off my list for some time now.

The first was to cover a Morrissey/Smiths song. Most who know me (even a little bit), know that I am a Morrissey fanatic. It’s pretty sick, but it could be worse. I have always had a healthy fear of covering Moz’s stuff. However, after some thought on it, I decided that now would be the time. I’m not getting any younger.

The second was to have my old friend Jeremy Ylvisaker on my stage. You see, I had spent a considerable amount of time in my late teens and early 20’s working as a tech for Jeremy and have remained in constant admiration of his guitar playing and catch him whenever possible. When they were throwing together the sets for the jennefit, it was suggested that Jeremy come play with us. I was honored that he said yes.

So, to kill a few birds in one set, here is Jeremy Ylvisaker sitting in with us covering “Death of a Disco Dancer” by The Smiths:

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Invisible Button St Patrick's Day at Kitty Cat Klub Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us at the Kitty Cat Klub. It is going to be a bit of an eclectic evening hosted by Invisible Button Entertainment. Joining us will be Painted Saints and Nice Purse.

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http://blogs.citypages.com/gimmenoise/2010/03/flyer_of_the_we_73.php

Flyer of the Week: Ryan Paul and the Ardent

By Andrea Swensson in Flyer of the Week
Wed., Mar. 3 2010 @ 1:20PM

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ryanpaulflyer.jpg
This flyer caught our attention for a couple of reasons: Not only were we intrigued by these wintry, decoupaged birds, but this is one hell of a lineup for a Thursday night. Ryan Paul and the Ardent will be joined by stellar singer-songwriters Luke Redfield, Brad Senne, and Holly Newsom of Zoo Animal.
Thanks Andrea!!

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I didn’t really take much of an opportunity to mention the most visible of changes to THE ARDENT. If you showed up to the February 4th show at the Turf Club, you probably noticed this:

Cory Eischen joins Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT by elli rader

On the synthesizer, we have Cory Eischen. Cory is an amazing player and friend. He currently plays with Mayda, ELnO, and a whole crapload of other bands in this city.

After a powerful year, I looked back on the accomplishments of RPTA and didn’t feel like I saw as much of myself in the reflection (musically) as I would like to. As mentioned in my interview with the Minneapolis AV Club, the Americana was more of a “hurdle” than it was an aspiration. I simply looked at the genre as something I had not done before. I feel like THE ARDENT and I tackled that genre well and are now finished with it.

It was a struggle as I wrote and wrote and wrote and only pulled 1/8 of the songs (easily translated to Americana) to use with the band. After months of deliberation with friends, band members and management, I feel like I reached a solution to my musical “identity crisis”. The answer to my obstacle was in a word that Invisible Button Entertainment uses to describe our band: “honest”.

I decided to drop back to the idea of playing whatever comes from my head and heart. The result was/is something that falls outside of the Americana frame.

THE ARDENT and I tossed ideas around and decided that it was time to hit the studio again. We also spoke about the lineup and decided that we needed something else to help implement the ideas that were flowing. We found Cory Eischen to fill in.

Cory is an excellent player with a style that I have been fond of for quite some time. He writes layers and parts that make the rest of the musicians in the room play better. Even in our first show, he challenged me to new ideas. We’re looking forward to future shows with him and also to have him on the new EP, “Cute Souvenirs” (More info on that to come).

Ryan Paul

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Just announced, Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT will be joining Backyard Tire Fire and John Swardson on Feb 18, 2010 at the Turf Club. Pre-sale tickets are available via the First Ave box office.

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