Want to know how to play the Ryanhood song “Gardens and the Graves”? You’re in luck! Here’s a video tutorial by Cameron Hood.
The Ryanhood Photo Archive has undergone a MASSIVE update! Want to see pictures of the very first Ryanhood concert, in which Cameron performed in shorts? Want to see us backstage rehearsing with Glen Phillips from Toad The Wet Sprocket? Want to see if there’s a picture of YOU standing there watching us street perform at Quincy Market? Start digging, it’s all there!
Check out this special performance of Always Love You (from the album After Night Came Sun) recorded on June 8th, 2014 at Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood!
We are thrilled to have been named the "Best Group/Duo" in the 2014 International Acoustic Music Awards for our song, "Sickbed Symphony"!
Click here to view all of the winners.
Jan 28 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Shred Shed – more info
Jan 30 – Denver, CO @ The Walnut Room – more info
Jan 31 – Albuquerque, NM @ Outpost Performance Space – more info
Feb 1 – Flagstaff, AZ @ Firecreek Coffee House – more info
Feb 2 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom – more info
Feb 24 – Boston, MA @ Club Passim – more info
Feb 25 – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall – more info
Feb 26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Burlap and Bean – more info
Feb 27 – Lewiston, ME @ Bates College – private show
Feb 28 – North Adams, MA @ DPAC – more info
Mar 1 – Independence, MO @ Main Street Coffee House – more info
Apr 12 – Tucson, AZ @ Harlow Gardens – more info
On their fifth album—and after a few years of struggling with various obstacles—Cameron Hood and Ryan Green have pressed the refresh button.
And the opening track, “Red Line Reel,” acts as something of an introduction to the latest phase of the Tucson-based duo’s career. The spritely 1 1/2-minute instrumental track has the quality of a classic Leo Kottke composition, pastoral and intricate.
This leads into “How to Let It Go,” which unflinchingly confronts emotions such as jealousy, anxiety and hubris. Hood and Green purge such debilitating feelings, embrace being themselves and rediscover their artistic voices. Touchy-feely, sure, but Ryanhood bring a convincing intimacy to the song by placing it in the context of their trademark acoustic folk-pop sound, which will remind some listeners of the work of Dan Fogelberg and Simon & Garfunkel.
Speaking of sentimental, “Sickbed Symphony” allows a father to give death-bed advice to his sons, in the form of a musical metaphor, but Hood’s vocal delivery brings an affecting authenticity. Throughout, they play furiously together. Green’s melodic leads and solos often provide the highlights, such as on the glowing instrumental “Dillinger Days.”
-Gene Armstrong, Tucson Weekly
We spent our day signing and shipping copies of the new album out today. Order your signed copy of Start Somewhere and one of these beauties could be yours :-)
As you’ve probably noticed, things have been kind of quiet in the Ryanhood camp for the past couple of years. We come bearing good news: the quiet is ending. But before the big reveal, we feel like we owe you all an explanation for our absence. So, here’s the rest of the story…
It was 2009. We’d been going hard as a band for about 6 years, doing a ton of college touring behind our record Forward, doing some dates with Jason Mraz, and we were poised to make the leap to bigger and broader audiences. And by the looks of things, it was going to happen. We were finally about to release The World Awaits, after three long years shuttling back and forth between LA and Tucson working with a grammy-winning producer. We won a contest to open for Kelly Clarkson and Jay-Z at Arizona STADIUM, in front of a projected audience of 17,000 people! For fun, we wrote a song for Ellen, and she heard it, and sent out a tweet, which led to her staff calling us about appearing on the show! We reached out to some major artist management firms and they were impressed with our track record and momentum and agreed to meet with us to discuss management!
Then, piece by piece, the house of cards fell. Some unexpected developments led to our having to go $10,000 in debt at the last minute to release our CD. At the stadium gig, we started our set on time, but the doors opened late, and we only ended up playing to a few hundred people (we’d beefed up our merchandise for what we thought would be an audience of 17,000 and as a result, went another $6,000 into merchandise debt). The Ellen Show replaced most of their staff during a filming break, and when we followed up with them at the appointed time, no one on her staff knew who we were. We travelled the country and met with all of those management firms, presenting our “business plan”, trying to convince them we were worth believing in. One by one, they each passed on us.
It was really depressing. Not what we expected. It seemed as if everything we’d been working for was for nothing. We wrote an album about it called After Night Came Sun, and many would call it our darkest. About life falling apart, losing the meaning, dreams burning down. We thought the album was a sign of our re-emergence, but really it was more of a last gasp. In heavy debt, unable to land a manager or a booking agent, feeling like no one believed in us, we essentially stopped believing in ourselves. We took a rare gig here or there, primarily to pay down our debt, but mostly, we sat in silence, grieving our dreams, feeling like maybe we didn’t really have much of value to offer.
What we were too foolish or maybe selfish to see was that there were people out there who did believe in us, who did find meaning or joy in what we do… and if you’ve read this far, you might possibly be one of those people. And for that we THANK YOU so truly. Forgive us for taking you for granted.
But most significantly, we feel we learned something critical about who we are. We learned that we are artists who make art, singers who sing. That we are only fully alive when we are writing and singing and creating. Whatever comes as the result of the art we make is not up to us. Our purpose is just to be who we are and play what we play, to anyone who wants to look and listen.
It’s now the 10 year anniversary of our very first album, Sad and Happiness. 10 years since we played on the streets of Boston. 10 years since we walked home in the rain and talked about our dreams.
So. Here we are. Getting back up. Starting over again. But with a new sense of gratitude for every ear that will listen.
We proudly present to you, our newest album, Start Somewhere.
Please buy it, and share it. We are singing to you.
In honor of the Halloween season, here is a blast from our past. Occasionally, Ryanhood disappears and these carnivaleros show up instead.
¡Presentando Los Guapos del Norte!
Here’s our new press photo, courtesy of Taylor Noel Photography.
What do you think?
I wrote an email to one of my favorite singer/songwriters yesterday, and it feels appropriate, given the upcoming holiday, to share it with you. Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers’ album Glassjaw Boxer was one of those rays of light that we sometimes see (or hear) at exactly the right time. He’s honest in his dealings with family and the pursuit of fame, with his questions, doubts, and hopes.
In his song Father’s Day, he sings to his daughter about the closeness of their family, as well as the distance created by his perennial absence. “You’re like your mom, little girl/ and believe me that’s the best thing in the world,” followed by “I will always always love you, no matter what you do/ and when you’re growing up without me I will always be with you.”
Even though I don’t have any kids, these themes cut right in. And I think it’s because they help me to feel that I’m loved, especially when I, like all of us at times, struggle to believe it.
Here’s the letter I wrote to Stephen:
Hello Road Warriors!
This is Cameron Hood from folk/pop band Ryanhood.
A song, and then a brief story:
Last year, listening to the SK6ERS’ song Father’s Day while driving around in my car, I was struck with tears. I could feel for the first time what my dad had perhaps felt about me for so long.
All of the struggles he’s watched me undergo, the internal battle with self, the fight to hold onto hope, the wondering when life evens out, if ever. And always with him saying, “I will always always love you, no matter what you do.”
I didn’t quite crash my car, but I was highly moved.
I knew, at that moment, that the following Father’s Day I wanted to record a version for him, as if from his point of view, to me (hence the title of my cover, “Boy’s Life Version”). The regret over the broken home, and the constant love of a dad for a boy who was, in fact, born in the spring.
As a songwriter, I always want to know when my words and melodies have moved folks. In that spirit, I share my cover with you. Thank you, Stephen, for going to those places, lyrically and emotionally. You model for the rest of us what honesty can look like in real life.
ps… I tried to keep the SK twang out of my voice, but I think maybe it crept in just a little :)
I’m aware that so many of us have not had dads who loved and supported us, or who were even there at all. And so a song like this may bring a different kind of tears. The theme though is still the same: What happens when we learn to see ourselves through the eyes of one who love us? I hope we’ve all been loved once or twice in our lives well enough to see our goodness mirrored back to us. To feel that someone could know us, and yet still love us.
The hard part is learning to see all the good in us, with our own eyes (or ears).
What is the one thing you wish you had done differently which you learned by experience?
This is an excellent question, and a very difficult one. My answer may end up sounding a bit touchy-feely for your tastes, but it’s my answer nonetheless.
I wish this: that I had asked myself “What do I want?” more often. I wish I had started asking earlier, “What EXACTLY do I want? Is THIS what I want? How close is this thing I’m doing right now to what I’ve dreamed of, hoped for?” And I wish I’d developed the courage to believe in my answers to those questions earlier on.
In other words, I wish I’d started to trust my intuition earlier.
Asking “Where am I going, and what do I really want?” is a powerful question, because it prevents you from getting swept along by others’ plans for you in the hopes that they have your best interest at heart. Not that everyone you meet is trying to con you. Not by any means. But you’re the only one who will truly know whether what you’re doing is a) what you’re made to do, b) a stepping stone on the way to getting there, or c) a completely tangential distraction. You have to keep checking in and saying to yourself, for example, “Okay, joining such-and-such group was a good decision a year ago… does it still make sense? Am I compromising my values to be a part of this? Is my heart in it? How can I put my heart in it?”
In my case, touring colleges made sense in the past as a good way to make a living as a band and begin to build a fanbase. But I ignored the voice inside that was suggesting that it was time to move on from that kind of touring. The voice, or feeling, or intuition, or whatever you want to call it kept softly persisting that, while the money was helpful, Ryan and I were actually burning ourselves out — on travel, hotels, touring, loneliness, playing “Stopless” for the 567 time — faster than we were really building a fanbase.
And burnout is not a bad thing all by itself. It happens to just about everyone at some point. The question is, what do I do with it? Will I listen to that voice, address my intuition and make a change? Or will I continue down the exact same path, seeking to please managers or booking agents or producers or fans at the cost of my soul?
You said that you seek to hone your musical talents for God’s glory, and I think that’s admirable. You may read my words and think, “He’s talking a lot about what he wants, what about what God wants?” And so my biggest piece of advice, should you choose to accept it, is to have the faith to believe that the voice of your deepest desire, your deepest intuition IS God speaking in you, to you, through you.
Listening to that intuition, even if you make mistakes (and you will), will still steer you in the right direction. And I’d say direction is more important that perfection.
So I said it would be a little touchy-feely. Stay-tuned for a much more rugged and manly entry. It will probably be about sports.
Dear Mr. Hood,
I have been enjoying your music for some time, and I love the way you mix intricate musical harmonies with meaningful lyrics. You may remember me from your show in Boston. I played violin for Back Into Blue.
I have been studying violin for 9 years, and also play guitar, piano, drums and sing. I am in high school, and I am considering colleges to continue my musical education. I write and record songs, and would like to hone and refine this skill for God’s glory. Could you give me some insight from your experience about these upcoming years?
- What was the best decision you made in the pursuit of your music career?
- What is the one thing you wish you had done differently which you learned by experience?
- What advice would you give someone like me?
Thanks for the time and advice you might be able to give. Believe me, I will consider your words of wisdom carefully, because I need all the help I can get!
I absolutely remember meeting you in New Hampshire and performing with you at Cafe 939 in Boston. Your email is timely in that your request forcefully nudges me to put into words what has been swimming freestyle laps in my mind for some time now. I found that I had a lot to say. Not a big surprise, coming from me! With your permission, I’m posting your letter and my response to the Ryanhood blog.
What was the best decision you made in the pursuit of your music career?
My first instinct is to say that Ryan is the best decision I’ve made in my music career. He has matched or exceeded every ounce of work, drive, and heartsweat that I’ve put into the pursuit of this dream. When I fall, when I lose heart, when I’m sick onstage or have lost my voice, Ryan is at my right to carry on until I come back to life.
I played in a band throughout highschool and college called Easyco, and though I loved our music, and loved the guys in the band (one of whom was my brother), we didn’t share the same ear for the kind of music we wanted to make, or the same sight for the direction we wanted to go. And since, of all the guys in the group I had the strongest drive to succeed at playing music, I became the leader. I felt alone in trying to pull this heavy thing, this difficult dream to the place I wanted it to go.
So, finding someone to share the load with, who complements my abilities and my flaws, was a revelation. Ryan is level-headed, business-minded. He has an easy way with people, and knows how to measure his words in a way that creates allies wherever we go. He has an ear for the production of music, for the perfecting of harmony and rhythm. Conversely, I am exuberant, passionate, and creative, but also somewhat of a loose cannon. I contribute a lot of musical and visual raw material, but often struggle to complete, to tighten, to finish. And in this, Ryan has been my perfect counterpoint.
I make it sound like a dreamy, exciting process, and it CAN be that. But it is just as often slow and difficult. Our partnership tries our patience, our egos, and our communication skills. But having Ryan to walk beside has been overwhelmingly worth the friction and struggle of partnership.
It seems to me that if you’re a solo musician, or if you choose to play violin in an orchestra, or if you choose to pursue music in some form outside of the context of a band or duo, you might feel that this doesn’t apply to you. “Not everyone has a Ryan,” a friend said to me. But here’s the universal application: surround yourself with good people, encouraging people, people with similar visions, people who believe in the possibility of what you’re trying to do. Surround yourself with people who have that gift of being both brutally honest and deeply encouraging in the same breath. Find people who can do the things that you can’t, and partner with them.
The biggest gift Ryan has given me is that he’s always believed in the possibility of things. And it’s so incredibly important, especially when doors seem shut and nothing seems easy. A strong desire mixed with a strong sense of possibility may be the only things strong enough to get you through those times.
But I’ll say more about that when I answer your next two questions.
It’s Always About The Songs – Part 4 of 4
These days, I’m a lot more open and excited about the thought of my songs changing and evolving. I try to get a song as prepared as I can – I hone it and sit with it and make sure it’s as good as I can make it – and then I open it up to criticism and change. I tend towards certain songwriting habits, and I’m excited by the prospect of letting those habits get turned on their head by Ryan, a producer, fellow musicians.
Lately we’ve been talking about our next record and how we’d like to widen our production palette even more… play more instruments than before. More mandolin, piano… go in directions that make the listening experience different than what we’ve done previously. Up until now we’ve tended to stay pretty close to the 2 guitar, 2 voice format that you see live. And we’d like to broaden that substantially… to be as absolutely creative as we can be.
Yet regardless of how we produce a song – regardless of how many layers of piano or mandolin or the Tucson Boys Chorus we add – it will still be true that moving, well-written songs make the real difference.
So far I haven’t found anything quite like the feeling of satisfaction and creation that come with completing the puzzling, heart-and-mind-requiring process of songwriting. Some have come in the course of one night, while others have taken years to finish writing. But it’s definitely true that the process, the struggle, the work of writing a song is just as important and in many cases, just as fun, as listening to a finished product.
I’ll leave you with a live video of one of our newest songs, “After Night Came Sun.” It’s about struggling through a difficult process, trying to find your voice, and about truly celebrating it once you’ve found it.
Thanks for reading!