I’ve been a fan of Ryan Joseph Anderson for a long while now. I first came across him as a guitarist in Michele McGuire’s band back in 2012. Then I saw him open a couple shows as a solo act, appearing with a backup vocalist. Most recently I caught him, once again on guitar, playing one of the most splendid guitar solos I’ve seen along with Donnie Biggins at Tonic Room (which led to me giving him the nickname “Shreddy Krueger”-no idea if he’s running with that one). To say he’s a skilled musician would be an understatement.
Whether you enjoy his new album might depend greatly on your patience and willingness to lend yourself over to the music. There isn’t anything flashy going on in City Of Vines, leaning heavily towards a James Taylor sort of vibe for the first half. It hits a big turning point on track six, “Tooth & Tongue,” going from quiet country/folk to more of a Honky Chateau feel. This swamp pop tune stands out as a highlight, but very much an outlier-in City Of Vines, this is the towering skyscraper.
All the songs on this record are well-written, but I don’t feel like the recording quite captures the feeling of hearing Anderson in person. On Friday night he’s playing a record release show at The Hideout (the record is out now, so you can pick it up here and listen to it ahead of the show). If you dig his sound, I would highly recommend checking it out. It’s nice counter-programming to Lollapalooza downtown.