Ryan Traster

REVIEW: Ryan Traster “Low Mirada”


Ryan Traster – Low Mirada

A less wild Elvis Costello vocal & band sound style emerges at times from Ryan Traster but basically, this young fellow has a provocative showcase of his own. His voice is not like all the other contemporary pop-country artists, there’s a tinge of attitude & it’s snazzy.

From the Costello propellent Traster cruises through some skies familiar with Graham Parker. While Traster doesn’t have the Parker grit in his voice he does have a Parker phrasing style & melodic embellishment akin to Parker’s period of “The Mona Lisa’s Sister.”

Ryan Traster

The tunes have an edge & are catchy. With all that going for him Ryan also sings with a gratifying twinge. He’s likable because he sounds fresh & maintains it throughout his 9-cut Low Mirada (Drops Sept 30– Blackbird Records).

By “The Seventh Daughter,” Ryan is sounding more like Ryan Traster. Mature songwriting, vibrant varied soundscapes with a good fluid band. There’s a twang to this without sounding entirely country. It’s that punk ingredient that he absorbed from early Costello & Parker. But since he’s doing the stirring of the melody & lyrics in a new pot the music comes out with a wholly new flavorful calorie.


Titles like “One Click Salvation,” is what interest me. It shows some creativity in titling a song that many singer-songwriters seem to treat as secondary. What is a “one-click salvation,” I need to know, so I need to listen, again, Traster uses a signature voice with blended vintage sounds he has polished to an alternate-troubadour concoction much like Syd Barrett/Robyn Hitchcock’s solo work. It’s a splash of cold water on sleepy faces.

This isn’t quite pop-country because Traster injects far too many suggestions that he was breastfed on the “Medusa of punk melody” – the pub-rock of Brinsley Schwartz, Nick Lowe, Ian Gomm & ultimately the redoubtable Costello & Parker with an inheritance from Alex Chilton. Every tune is like candy that starts sweet but gets tart toward the end. Playful.

Ryan Traster (6/12-string Rickenbacker/vocals), Michael McGarthwaite (electric/slide guitars), Nick Johnson (bass/vocals), Peter Anderson (drums), Andy Holmaas (guitar), Naomi Dornfeld (vocals), Chris Walla (keys). Recorded by Kris Johnson in Minneapolis MN. Songs by Ryan Traster except “The Seventh Daughter” by Traster/Portz & “It’s All About Her” by Traster/Wisely.

Highlights – “Morose Empire,” “The Seventh Daughter,” “One Click Salvation,” & “Blue Blood” (Neil Young-type song).

Photo courtesy of Ryan’s website. LP releases as digital & vinyl @ Merchbar + https://www.songsofryantraster.com/

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