RYAN TOWNSEND: MUSICIAN, SINGER, SONGWRITER

Welcome. This blog is an active platform to discover new music, performances, and get a behind the scenes look at my life as a musician. Through stories, songs, and videos I hope to share my music, writing, and thoughts. Please do the same and leave your comments and feedback. 

5.30.18 – Love Is Rose: Cover Compilation 2  

Had a lot of fun making this video and recording a few new covers with Natasha May DiMarco. We collaborated on Love Is A Rose, a Neil Young song also performed by Linda Ronstadt, the Allman Brother classic Ramblin’ Man, and a version of Only You by Yazoo.  

Stay tuned for the full length version of Only You that we will be featured on my upcoming EP Waiting For the Flood.  

~ RCT

4.13.18 – New Upcoming Album  

I’m excited to announce I’m in the process of recording a new album. The album will feature 3 new original acoustic songs written over the past year. In addition, it will include a cover of Only You ( Yazoo ), featuring vocalist Natasha May DiMarco. We arranged and performed an intimate version of this 80’s deep cut. 

Stay tuned for studio updates, full track list, and album artwork. 

~ RCT

 

8.31.17 - True Colors 

At the beginning of this summer I started messing around with an arrangement of Cyndi Lauper’s song “True Colors.” I’ve always enjoyed it, and wanted to try and make it my own in a way. I played it out a few times and messed with some demos, but could never quite get the vocals to where I wanted them to be. Lauper has such a unique and powerful voice. It’s a challenge to recreate that. 

After messing around with it more I began to work out the vocal melody on my guitar instead and decided to do an instrumental version of the song. My nylon acoustic plays the rhythm and lead parts, and I layered few different synths to create some atmosphere, as well as, some harmonica. 

Enjoy! 

~ RCT

 

8.02.17 - Dark of the Road 

One of the first songs I began working on for my album Prelude was “Dark of the Road.” It was during 2011 after my band Fever Train had split up and I was working on a handful of solo material for an upcoming EP. 

This song has always stood out to me above the rest on those recordings. Its driving acoustic atmosphere sets the backdrop for a candid story about fascination, experience, and allowing yourself to follow into the unknown. 

Check out the lyrics and video below. I’ve been working on an updated solo version of the song with just guitar and vocals. The new single will be released next month. Stay tuned! 

~ RCT 

 

"Dark of the Road” 

Well, the whiskeys dry and the bars have all grown cold 

Enough stars to pick a fight in the skies above 

A stone’s throw away from the passing cars that roam 

While the cold wind spins and pretends in the dark of the road 

 

In the dark of the road I’d follow you 

Said you’d show me something new 

Cast upon an open shore, caught up in the loom 

I’d fall in love with you 

 

Well, the sounds come alive and the gardens all turn to stone 

The subtleties are just certainties of old 

A fascinating fascination grows 

With the dim of your skin that shines in the dark of the road 

 

In the dark of the road I’d follow you 

Said you’d show me something new 

Cast upon an open shore and caught up in the loom 

I’d fall in love with you 

 

Oh, the truth

Cold winds are falling 

Oh, the truth

The night she’s calling 

 

In the dark of the road I’d follow you 

Said you’d show me something new 

Cast upon an open shore and caught up in the loom 

I’d fall in love with you

 

7.26.17 - New Songs and Upcoming Recordings 

I’ve been doing a lot of writing over the last six months putting together demos of new songs and ideas using my acoustic nylon guitar as the driving instrument. I’m experimenting with different strum and picking patterns to compliment the feel and story of each tune, while trying to emulate the atmosphere and energy from my live performances. 

I’ll be rehearsing, writing, and producing these songs over the rest of the summer and will be going into the studio this upcoming fall to record a five song EP. I’ll be incorporating strings, percussions, and different synthesizers to round out the style and feel of the album. 

Currently I am wrapping up the recording and mixing of an instrumental cover I did of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” which will give a glimpse into the sounds I am looking to create on the upcoming EP. 

“True Colors” will be released next month along with videos of an updated version of my song “Dark of the Road” and the Paul Simon track “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” 

Stay tuned for updates… 

~ RCT

7.19.17 - Blowing in the Wind 

Andy Wood said it best in his song Man of Golden Words….“Words and Music. My only Tools.” They can compliment each other so well, and at the same time stand on their own each having a profound meaning. In this modern era of music no one’s done it quite as well as Bob Dylan has. His ability to create a simple story or have you captivated by imaginative metaphors and similes makes his songs unforgettable. 

They lend themselves to interpretation and imagination, which is perhaps why so many artists have taken their own spin on many of his songs. I’m guilty of this myself and wanted to share my latest cover. 

Blowing in the Wind is a timeless song whose lyrics can resonate with any man or woman from any culture or time in our existence. It’s about compassion, understanding, hope and a bit of the unknown. As the theme repeats throughout, “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind….” 

Enjoy this beautifully written song and my cover of it in this lyric video below. 

~ RCT

6.28.17 - Cordoba  

Over the past couple years when I’ve been performing solo without a band I’ve been using a classical style nylon guitar as my main instrument. Playing only with my hands I’ve been trying to incorporate finger picking patterns along with Spanish style strumming arrangements to keep the rhythm. I’ve tried to blend this with the different types of rock, folk, soul and blues I normally play. 

When I first started playing and learning I used this type of guitar. And while I’ll always love the feel of my Fender Strat ripping through an amp, or the massive sound of my steel stringed Breedlove filling up a room, playing on the nylon has always felt like home to me and what I enjoy most. 

I’ve been able to create a fresh take on songs I’ve covered over the years, as well as, blend a more intricate style of playing. The guitar I use is made by a company called Cordoba. They balance traditional craftsmanship with modern developments creating a warm tone and a very playable instrument. I own a Cordoba concert and baritone ukulele as well, and can’t say enough good things about them. 

Cordoba is also the name of a city in Andalusia, Spain. This area is well known for their heritage of the 6 six string guitar and flamenco music. 

I’m currently writing and working on new original material, in this vein of playing, which I’m excited to record and share later this year. 

In the meantime, enjoy this version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” live from Scallywags (NYC) on 6.21.17. 

~ RCT

 

6.21.17 - Chris Cornell - Sunshower 

Some of my earliest memories of listening to music before the age of 10 are of oldies, doo wop, motown, and rock n’ roll from the 50’s and 60’s. The kind of stuff Cousin Brucie would play on 101.1 FM in New York in the 1980’s. By the time I was a teen and started buying my own albums, learning how to play the guitar, and going to see live shows the music that I connected too were bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. 

Exploring the lineage of the Seattle scene and becoming introduced to bands like Mother Love Bone, and Temple of the Dog provided a treasure chest of audible and inspirational material for me. Amongst the many that have help shape my musical approach in my playing and writing, Chris Cornell is one of the artists who stands out the most to me. 

While I have great respect for the music and musicians of Soundgarden, it’s some of Cornell’s work outside of the band which I admired most. Temple of the Dog is without a doubt one of my favorite records of all the time. The caliber of songwriting and combination of musicians captured a raw and special moment paying homage to their late friend and bandmate Andy Wood. 

It was a handful of songs appearing on soundtracks in the 90’s, that to me embodied some of the best of Cornell’s talent. The song “Seasons” was featured in the movie, Singles from Cameron Crowe. This is Cornell stripped down. An acoustic guitar and his nostalgic and charismatic voice are all the drive this track. 

“Sunshower,” is a song featured on the soundtrack to Great Expectations based on the classic Dicken’s novel. The album contains a variety of styles from the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band” to the Scott Weiland solo piece, “Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down.” But it’s Cornell’s masterful creation that provides a seamless backdrop drop to the story and cinematography. 

I’m sure the song's meaning and lyrics lie in some story or truth from Cornell’s past. However, as I read back on them they paint a haunting foreshadow of Cornell’s untimely death and late life. 

One of things I love best about songs is that when people or places have gone, they still have the ability to come back to life through the memories that bloom through words and music. 

“I know all your graces someday will flower in the sweet Sunshower….” 

~ RCT

 

6.14.17 - Tennessee Whiskey 

Over the past year I’ve been really into the album Traveler by Chris Stapleton. Besides being a magnificent songwriter he has a hauntingly charismatic voice that combines grit and soul with a smooth, rich tone. 

I stumbled upon Stapleton through a recommendation of my father to cover the song “Whisky and You,” co-written by Lee Thomas Miller and covered by many including Aaron Lewis and Tim McGraw. 

Traveler is one of those records that you can play uninterrupted from beginning to end and every track stands out amongst the rest. A side to B side, let the black circle spin with this one. 

A song that really resonated with me was “Tennessee Whiskey.” A grimacing love anthem soaked in booze. A tale of redemption and how one soul can emancipate another. 

I’ve been covering this song live over the last few months, trying to add my own touch while paying homage to the original. This is a video of me performing it on 6.10.17 at Jacqueline’s on Main in Nanuet, New York. 

I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I do performing it. Cozy up to a bottle of Jack Daniels and check out Chris Stapleton and Traveler as well. 

~ RCT