I often liken the role of singer song-writer to a poet. The poet writes alone, trying to conquer with words the ills that people have put on them. It’s a shitty job and an even shittier existence, due to the fact that the poet is alone. And when you are alone you just got you, nobody else.
So that being said you have to answer for all the words that you say. This is the place where true artistry lies. And here is also where your competition lies. To the unknown singer-songwriter, this place is a world where you have no clout and can easily end up getting pigeon holed. And the worst part is that you probably are.
So enter the singer-songwriter Ryan Gray. He hails from Long Beach, California and has been a part of the music scene there for a decade. His latest album, I'm On My Way is comprised of eleven songs, which coddle that acoustic blues drama that many and most first timers fall into.
Of the eleven songs on On My Way, there is nothing here that will change the world. The songs are straightforward and have that storytelling quality like the hokey dirge “Music Man” which recounts the life and death of local musician who one day dies and then is soon replaced by a young boy who is playing his guitar. Life goes on, we get it.
Gray’s best biggest strengths lie in his guitar picking and warm voice. Two glaring examples are “PCH” and “Happier Man,” which are heartfelt songs that resonate with melancholy and solid songwriting. Another highlight is “Honeymoon” which is a slow moving blues inspired song which piles on distorted guitars towards the end of the song which was a welcome deviation. On top of that the vocal harmonies between Gray and the female singer melded together seamlessly.
To cement this review I’ll take a page from Ryan Gray’s On My Way playbook, mainly a lyric from the closing song “Honeymoon (acoustic)” on which Gray sings “cuz we know we are just like/ the waves at our feet/we will crash and slowly drift away.” To give Ryan Gray his cred he’s been doing this for a good many years, and being a solo anything is always a gamble not to mention a very hard thing to do.
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