The way I get into a blues LP & pull the goods from it is to listen with a cigar, pair of shades & glass of bourbon. Ryan Perry’s 11-track Ruf Records LP (drops March 13) High Risk, Low Reward, is worthy of a double-shot.
Skeptic since it was recorded in Berlin, Germany I realized many jazz & blues were performed & recorded in Europe & Japan. Italian vet rocker Eugenio Finardi recorded a great all-English blues LP (“Anima Blues”) in Milan, Italy — that charted in Texas.
So, while Ryan Perry’s name won’t tweak like a Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters or Son House — let the young man play.
“Ain’t Afraid To Eat Alone,” is resplendent with Ryan’s B.B. King guitar sound. No gruff B.B. vocals, but RP does have a penetrating vocal. As much as I like the late Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jeff Healy & John Campbell, Perry’s authenticity is a more smooth & polished leather delivery.
Well-learned lessons from the blues textbook may be Chicago-blues or Delta blues, but “Homesick,” & “A Heart I Didn’t Break,” has an arresting Lou Rawls (“Dead-end Street”) vocal tone. While many songs are good they’re elementary. However, when Ryan injects his personality with his exceptional lead guitar he succeeds as a convincing bluesman.
“Pride,” is a good blues but trudges. After a few live shows, it’ll be better. When Ryan says “hey, hey” there’s no exuberance & this is where Gene McDaniels’ inflection had expertise. Ryan has it on “A Heart.” But needs to do it more. A cover of BB King’s “Why I Sing the Blues,” — is a jewel.
“One Thing’s for Certain,” is closer to Robert Cray blues-commerciality. Ryan’s in control; entertaining & maintains a tight-groove proficiently though some need a hot harmonica, & deep-seeded sax. Ryan steps into Blasters mud on the title track. A “Dark Night” mist mindful of Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time,” — genuine 100 proof whiskey blues.
The slow “Changing Blues,” exudes the style of the late vocalist/lead guitarist John Campbell – who wrote many dark blues (“Tiny Coffins”). While Ryan’s guitar notes aren’t as emotional as the late Roy Buchanan he has vitality, such as Willie Dixon’s “Evil Is Going On,” & “Hard Times,” that smoke. On “Hard Times” Ryan’s vocal tonality is deep like German-born John Kay’s (Steppenwolf) bluesy solo work.
Mr. Perry says he needs to serve the old tunes & truths with renewed vigor to attract fresh young listeners. But he needs to understand what the blues of a younger person is so they can relate better. I’m not certain that appeal is on every track. There’s still a little retro in the roll of the dice, but…
This CD is a noteworthy blues work from a young bluesman.
The 53-minute CD produced by Roger Inniss (bass), with Lucy Piper (drums), & Jeffrey Staten/Stefanie Bechtold (backing vocals). Available at Discogs. Website: https://ryanperryband.com/home