Audrey Ryan Live In Studio

Live Music Week happens bi-annually at WERS to raise money to keep our station running. We ask if you can pledge your support in order to keep us live on air, bringing you live performances from your favorite musicians. Pledges can be made here

The WERS studio was alive with sound when Audrey Ryan stopped by in support of Live Music Week. The guitar, banjo, kazoo, xylophone, maracas, and the glockenspiel were all in full swing—and all played by one-woman band Audrey Ryan. “I don’t play that many [instruments] well,” says Ryan. “I play 10 or 15 like half okay.”

She sounded much better than half okay during her three  song set, kicking things off with the quirky and upbeat “Holding Back”. Ryan creates her sound using a loop station. She begins “Holding Back” with a light xylophone beat, then adds other instruments including the kazoo, guitar, and lastly, her vocals. She describes her second song as “even weirder and harder.” The banjo-filled “Oh, The Ego” is slow and ethereal, and with haunting vocals. Ryan rounded out her set with the more straightforward guitar-driven “Maybe.”

The first instrument Ryan learned was the violin, which she picked up as a young girl growing up on an island off the coast of Maine. “You know like in elementary school every kid wants to play the violin, and then they all drop it. But my parents told me if they were going to pay for it, I needed to be serious about it. So I’ve stuck with it. I have a real affinity for the violin.”

Ryan has released four albums over the course of her career: Passing Thru in 2004, Dishes and Pills in 2007, I Know, I Know in 2009, and most recently 2011’s Thick Skin. When she first started out, Ryan was not the one-woman show she is today. Up until 2008, she mostly played with bands. “Bands are expensive, not just to pay, but to maintain,” she says. “It’s definitely fun, but not cost effective. Plus when you want to play a show, you have to check with three other people and nine times out of ten someone has a conflict.” Ryan says that initially she never wanted to be a solo artist or to play under her own name. Now, though, she enjoys performing as a solo artist. “I definitely make more money now,” she says. “It’s not about money, but it is nice. I can travel a lot more. I go to the west coast a lot, and I go to Europe every year. There’s no way I could tour in Europe if I had a band.”

Despite her recent solo status, Ryan is getting into collaboration once more, this time with friend and fellow musician Will Dailey. “We’re playing under the band name Soft Exile, whatever that means,” she says with a laugh. “After watching the debate I’ve been saying we should call ourselves Horses and Bayonettes.” The duo is planning on recording a few songs and releasing either an album or a single, depending on how things turn out. They are also looking to tour in Ireland in the upcoming months. “He’s the first person I’ve collaborated with in a long time,” says Ryan. “It’s good because he’s a real mover and a shaker, which is the complete opposite of me. We complement each other.”

By Sara Selevitch
Photo by  Libby Webster

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To all WERS Members & Volunteers

THANK YOU! We had an awesome Live Music Week because of you! We exceeded our goal of 1000 donors and we couldn’t have done it without your support! We are working on sending your gifts now and you can expect to have them in 4 to 6 weeks. If you have any questions or concerns, […]