Winter Wheat (EP Review)

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Ryan Culwell’s last studio album, Heroes on the Radiowas released in 2006. Since then he led the rock band The Young Senators through a storm of shows in oil-field bars across West Texas before walking away from the lifestyle to plant his young family in Nashville. Upon arrival in Music City, he could only make sense of the new world in the laconic language of his barren Flatland upbringing, and his first EP in 6 years – Winter Wheat – was born.

While it may be fine to talk about these songs in terms of a career, it falls short of the ambition in the opening lines of “Walking Away” – The wheat field is all but dead // There’s a pure white snow under my heel // But the old timers say it’ll be a crop someday. 

For all the paradox this seems, these songs tell what it is for a man to hate his life – lay down his vain ambitions in the dirt, hoping they bear a better fruit than the meager scraps he’d known. In the world decaying-to-dust that Ryan narrates, hope is the crop germinating in Winter Wheat

I’ve said a few things about Ryan (here and here) in the past, and I do so again now proudly and without regard to any sort of Internet personality I may have cultivated. I think these four songs are great. They have been my accompaniment as I drive the 40 uninhabited miles home from work every day and can literally say that the songs have kept me alive (or at least awake, which at 70 mph is the same thing). 

If my recommendation holds any weight for you, then click through and download Ryan Culwell’s Winter Wheat. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it whets your appetite for the full-length album that he’ll release in 2013.

http://noisetrade.com/service/sharewidget/?id=aaca6a63-8db3-4e84-84b6-a8dd1c03290c

* If you don’t know anything about NoiseTrade, here’s the basics: you enter your email and zip code so the artist has the information in case they are ever in your area. You don’t have to pay anything to download the music; although tips are nice. Pretty simple. 

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