I’m posting another of @RyanCulwell’s songs, for which I sort of apologize to my 42 followers on Tumblr. Sort of, but not really. I mean, chances are you are probably a mutual friend of mine and Ryan’s anyway, so you’ll be listening to it regardless. However, there’s a small chance that we’ve never met, and you live in some place exotic like Switzerland or NYC or San Francisco, and your musical tastebuds (eardrums?) are inundated with new sounds and new songs constantly by new artists who might be worth investing a listen because chances are those artists will pay cool dividends in 5 years when you can say that you were listening to them way back.
So here’s another video – one of those ubiquitous black-and-white-shot-on-the-street-videos featuring a-girl-with-a-beautiful-voice – of which you can find billions all over the Internet. I realize nobody finds music this way any more because there’s just too much of it. People still find music the old fashioned way: because their friends like it and put it on the playlist while hanging out or on road-trips or because you slow-danced to it or whatever.
Anyway, if you and I were sitting in your living room and I brought over the record or my mobile device, then I would compare Ryan’s songs to other songs that both of us had enjoyed while we were younger. I might bring up people like Ryan Adams, and you’d say, “But I don’t like Ryan Adams anymore. I mean I still occasionally listen to him, but only for sentimental reasons; only to remind myself of myself 10 years ago.” And I would say that I agree and then we’d sit there for a bit. And then I’d say, “but one of the reasons I don’t like Ryan Adams anymore is because he hasn’t aged well. He’s still talented – great voice, etc – but his scope has narrowed or just didn’t grow up. I just can’t listen to a break-up song at this point in my life because it doesn’t make any sense. Which is probably why it’s so hard to find any new musical artists once you hit your 30s. Pop music just doesn’t grow up. There’s nothing rock n roll about domesticity.”
On that you and I would surely agree, otherwise you haven’t grown up either.
I’d ponder a little longer and vaguely recall some Robert Penn Warren I’d read in my 20s that said something like “Living is a temporal art like music. It is dynamic and consecutive in its nature. Nostalgia is a vicious denial of this fact. The chord must be resolved.” Or maybe one of Eliot’s appreciations, like the one of Tennyson that bemoaned the master’s inability to sail through the dark night but instead shipwrecked in middle age.
Finally, I’d resolve and say, “I think Ryan Culwell may be an artist I can go through my 30s listening to honestly."
I’ll let you know in 8 years.
Also, here’s an interview with other people who aren’t Ryan’s friends who think that he’s worth listening to: http://spaceslitmag.com/2013/03/13/studio-space-ryan-culwell/