In recent years, Ryan McGarvey has emerged as a top up and comer on the blues rock scene. McGarvey is set to release his third album, The Road Chosen, on November 4th. We caught up with McGarvey to discuss the new album and more.
Many blues artists feature a lot of covers on their albums. On all three of your albums, all the songs are original. What are your thoughts on doing covers?
I enjoy closing a live show with a cover. I like to give things my spin, without losing the authenticity of the song, and the characteristics that make that song great in the first place. When it comes to my albums, and majority of my live shows- I prefer to be as original as possible. I’ve never liked the feeling of going out and doing what someone else created, already did, or trying to say in any way that I think I could do it any better or whatnot. I think it’s a great thing to use to connect with an audience, but I feel I have my own story to tell when people listen to my albums, or see me live.
Where does your inspiration for songwriting come from?
I always try to write from a personal experience. As personal as I can be while still leaving songs so that the listener can hopefully (in some cases) interpret, relate, or imagine their own experience when listening to the lyrics. I steer away from being TOO detailed like saying a specific girls name in the song. So a man, or woman can listen and maybe picture something that has happened in their own life. Typically, my songs revolve around relationships the most. But, also just day to day feelings, or specific encounters.
Do you feel The Road Chosen is different from your previous albums?
I think it’s the fitting next step, or chapter if you will in the Ryan McGarvey catalogue. I think with each album, the writing, playing, and singing have all matured noticeably. With this album I feel like I have covered a wide range of influences. With my singing I think I’m showing a lot more strength, confidence, and range. And the songwriting, I think it’s more personal, and mature. It’s a good representation of where I am now. I think the music has progressed to a heavier state of really showing the rock influence in my life- even on the very straighter blues numbers.
Where was the album recorded and who produced it?
This album was recorded in Santa Fe, New Mexico at Frogville Studios. It was mixed, and engineered by Bill Palmer. And I produced the album myself, along with Bill, and my father Patrick co-producing as the extra ears I think all albums need.
What’s your favorite song on the “The Road Chosen?”
I think the answer to this question changes nightly. Really I love playing every song on this album. “Memphis” is the big single right now. If I had to say right now, I’d say “My Heart To You.” It’s very emotional, and I have had some really amazing moments performing it live that stick in my memory. It’s a ballad type song, but the lyrics are just the blues presented in a different form.
You’ll be taking part in the Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea cruise. How did you get involved with that?
It was my very close friend Joe Bonamassa’s management that got in touch with me over the summer with the offer to perform on the cruise. I’m very honored to have been booked to perform on the cruise, especially alongside the likes of the other fantastic performers. There are some really great people performing, and there’s so many little connections everyone has with each other. It’s going to be wonderful to see so many greats in one spot. Let alone to perform and be a part of such a great event.
To this point, most of your touring has been done overseas in Europe. Do you feel it’s harder for an artist playing blues rock music to coordinate a tour here in the United States?
The thing that Europe has on the USA as far as touring, is really promoting, the fans, and the balance of pay vs. expenses. I find a lot of venues in the USA lack in promoting, and that’s when people aren’t at the shows like they should be. Then, there’s the cost of having a band on the road here (Not that Europe is cheap in anyway). Venues here don’t want to pay, but don’t help out to get people into the show in the first place to the extent that they do in Europe. Of course this isn’t a 100% all of the time situation. Also, being able to drive a few hours to the next major city, sometimes in a different country, can also help out overseas as opposed to here where you can drive 7-8 hours and be in the same state- hoping to get a crowd in a town nobody has ever heard of. Really though, we love touring wherever in the world we are.
What’s your favorite part of touring overseas?
I love the enthusiasm of the fans. And, over a short amount of time really, you can really see the rapid growth, and snowball effect our crowds are always multiplying in. This happens here in the states, too, but overseas the growth has been so rapid, it’s always exciting to see how things have grown with each returning visit. That, and seeing those that have become like family to us.
Where can fans get the new album?
The new album should be available online on November 4th! All info should as always be able to be found at www.RyanMcGarvey.com
Interview by Pete Francis