Thursday March 16
A country singer and songwriter from the Lone Star State, Mike Ryan mixes contemporary country melodies with big rock & roll guitars and sweeping pedal steel licks, reinforced by his soulful and passionate vocals. Ryan's brand of musical storytelling, steeped in songs about true love, broken hearts, and the details of ordinary lives in the Southwest, first gained a wide hearing on his 2012 album Night Comes Falling. His work gained strength and a bit more polish on 2014's Bad Reputation, and after a string of singles and EPs, he reached for a deeper sound and a more personal tone on his third LP, 2022's Longcut.
Mike Ryan was born in 1988 and was raised in a musical family -- his grandfather spent more than two decades leading the Texas National Guard Band, and Mike's dad played bass in a bluegrass group while also performing in local musical theater. While Ryan graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in criminal justice, his passion for music proved stronger in the long run, and he began performing around Texas and the Southwest. Ryan cut an EP, The First One, in 2010, and in 2012 he teamed up with Smith Music Group to release his full-length debut, Night Comes Falling. By this time, Ryan and his band -- Ryan Summers on guitar, Jerry Reynolds on fiddle, Casey Moreland on bass, and Jon "Fish" Hunt on drums -- were maturing into a strong live act, playing up to 200 dates a year, and Ryan landed a publishing contract with Sea Gayle Music.
Ryan's first two releases earned him radio airplay in his home state, and 2014's Bad Reputation followed suit. The tune "Girls I Date" receiving significant radio exposure in Texas, and "Dancing All Around It," "Wasting No More Whiskey," and "Bad Reputation" fared even better, all three topping out at Number One of the Texas charts; Texas Regional Radio named Ryan the New Male Vocalist of the Year for the year 2015. Ryan's own Rock & Soul label issued a seven-song EP, Blink and You'll Miss It, in 2017, which featured a guest appearance from Brad Paisley, who played guitar on the song "The Rewrite." Paisley also co-wrote a song with Ryan, "Last Time for Everything," which appeared on Paisley's 2017 album Love and War. Blink and You'll Miss It was another success on Texas radio, as well as racking up impressive numbers of streaming services, and Ryan dropped fresh singles in 2019 ("Dear Country Music") and 2020 ("Ghost Town"). More singles followed in 2021 ("Can Down" and "Jacket On") and 2022 ("Die Runnin'"), and served as previews of Ryan's next studio album, Longcut, which appeared in October 2022. The next month, he achieved one of his greatest career ambitions by making his first appearance on the Grand Ol' Opry. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi