Disco Ball Reflections of Underwater Sunshine

Adam Duritz is probably tired of me kissing his ass about how big of an influence he and Counting Crows have been for me. Haha. But it’s true! Jokes aside: I’m honored to call him a friend, and was thrilled when he asked me to play the Underwater Sunshine Fest in New York City. I knew it was gonna be a stretch to go to NYC, play the show on my own, come right back to Texas… and get ready for Tour. While it was a whirlwind of a trip, it was well worth it. I had the best time.

I’ll save you the tourist-y (I can’t help it, I’m from Texas!) type stuff I did. But just know, I was glad to have a few hours to explore New York City, Saturday morning, before the festival.

I had an afternoon, acoustic performance at one of the famed “Garden Sessions”. I arrived a little early, to a room full of fellow artists. This much talent should not be allowed in one room. Haha. It was intimidating, but I was ready. Speaking of talent, I was excited to meet Author, and favorite new Podcast Host, James Campion! (if you don’t have his Warren Zevon book, “Accidentally Like a Martyr”… you need it on your life immediately)

James had recently called our new single, Mamacita, a “rock n roll masterpiece”. So, of course, it was the first thing I mentioned. Haha! We had a good laugh about it. You know when you meet someone, in a “business” type environment… and you can tell, even though everyone is sort of on their best behavior, that you’d be friends? That’s how I felt when I met James. What a great dude. Always nice to meet genuine, good people in this crazy business.

So, I hung out for a bit… then, got ready for my Garden Session acoustic performance. I guess I could have done a couple songs I’ve played 1,000 times … but, I decided to play 2 songs I’ve never played before. Because I’m clearly out of my mind. Haha. I will chalk it up to being in a room FULL of uber talented peers, and wanting to up my game a little. So, with a voice full of nerves, I played a cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accent”, and a new song called “This is the Sound”. I knew Adam was a fan of the new tune, so I wanted to play it for him. I think I did ok. I felt good about it, and got a good response… which always feels nice.

Then, it was back to the Hotel to get the rest of my gear for the festival performance later that night. I decided to play electric guitar and use a loop (drum) pedal. Why? It was actually Mickey (our drummer’s) idea for a previous tour we were booked to do… but then the band couldn’t make it. I decided to have another drummer fill in on that tour. He did ok… but it just wasn’t the same. Mickey had suggested using a loop pedal, and just having fun with it, for that previous tour… and hindsight being 20/20, I wished I had done it that way, back then. SO… I was excited to give it a shot.

While there will forever be something extra special about the 5 of us getting together and our band playing live. I gotta say: using this new loop pedal, and playing electric, is a close second! I know it’ll never be the same as when everyone is on stage together… but it’s leaps and bounds beyond trying to keep a room’s attention (especially a bar in NYC) with a solo acoustic performance. So, I had some fun with it and got a great response! Felt really good.

As a musician you always hope to be welcomed into that old school “family” world. It’s a rare thing these days in the music business. Not only have I been lucky enough to find that kind of family with Wicked Cool Records… I gotta say: Adam, James and the whole Underwater Sunshine crew got that same family vibe goin’ on, and I am so thankful to be a part of it.

Hope to see them all again sometime soon. -Ryan

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