CD Review: Ryan Joseph Anderson “City of Vines”

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Ryan Joseph Anderson has spent time as the bandleader for the group Go Long Mule, a band that created two albums of Americana-based music. After releasing two albums with that band, Anderson would then go on to create one release of his own. The 2014 debut album from Ryan Joseph Anderson, entitled The Weaver’s Broom, was one of the strongest releases to be put out that year. Three years have passed since the release of that album. After three years, Anderson is back with his second album of all original music. The new release from Ryan Joseph Anderson is entitled City of Vines.

City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson starts off rather strongly with the track “Molly the Flood”. The track features a very strong Rock and Roll flavor and immediately gives the release a very rockin’ beginning. The track takes the music of Anderson into a direction that would fit alongside other songs that were created back in the eighties. The straight-out Rock and Roll sound on the track comes courtesy of the electric guitars that give the song a timeless musical feel. “Molly the Flood” is one of the most rockin’ tracks from either of Anderson’s solo albums.

The newest release from Ryan Joseph Anderson continues with the track “The Ragged Kind”. While the previous track makes use of the feel of the influence from the eighties, “The Ragged Kind” produces another musical approach that takes the music back even further in the Rock and Roll era as the track has a sound that almost seems as if it could have been produced by legendary Rock and Roll producer Phil Spector as the track comes complete with a very full and rich sound to the instrumentation included in the track. The nearly-overproduced feel of the track gives it a very commercial sound that would easily have fit on AM radio back in the sixties. Like the track “Molly the Flood,” “The Ragged Kind” sounds as if it would have been a popular track in another time.

The pace of the music slows down on the track “Shadowboxer”. And while the pace slows down, Anderson makes sure that the track “Shadowboxer” does not drag. The slower pace of the track is met with a strong drumbeat that acts kind of like a heartbeat and that heartbeat of sorts is what keeps the pace of the song moving. “Shadowboxer” is one track on the new album from Ryan Joseph Anderson that easily ties the new release to the previous one as this track could easily have fit within the playlist of the artist’s earlier album of The Weaver’s Broom.

The older feel to the Rock and Roll found on the first three tracks is only one reason why City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson fits under the Rock and Roll label. One other reason for that label is the inclusion of other musical genres that help place that label on the release. One track on the new album that makes use of other musical genres other than just plain Rock and Roll is the title track to the album.

On the title track of “City of Vines,” Ryan Joseph Anderson takes the listener back to the sound of his last release, especially the last track of that album. On the song “City of Vines,” infuses a large amount of folk influence into the track’s music. In fact, the resulting song feels almost nearly like a continuation of the final song from The Weaver’s Broom called “Mission Bell”. Like “Mission Bell,”  “City of Vines” features a gentle flowing feel to the music. And just like “Mission Bell,” “City of Vines” ends up being one of the shining moments on the release. While the harder songs on the album show off the rock star side of Anderson, the softer songs like “Mission Bell” and “City of Vines” show off the real talent of the singer-songwriter.

Staying in a mellower mood, the song “16 Lovers” features a slower pace to the music as Anderson combines a Rock and Roll backbone to the song with a little bit of the Blues to give the track a rather unique sound. The track’s lyrics also seem to have a Blues influence as the resulting song finds Anderson singing about the women he has known intimately. “16 Lovers” is one track that seems to dig deeper into the songwriter side of Anderson than other tracks.

On the track “Diamonds,” Ryan Joseph Anderson writes a song that has more of a personal feel to it than the rest of the album. The lyrics of the track apparently sing about things that helped shape Anderson into the man he is today. The track once again features a gentle feel to the music but still contains a definite Rock and Roll approach to the sound.

The track “July” brings the new release of City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson to a close. Like much of the material from Anderson, “July” is a track that combines an equal amount of Rock and Roll with Folk music. The easy pace of the track along with lyrics about remembering the past creates a song that seems very familiar to the listener. While the first part of the track has an easiness to the music, the second half finds the music building to a much more energetic approach to the music. The track of “July” brings the release to a close on an energetic note.

2014 found Ryan Joseph Anderson releasing a strong album in The Weaver’s Broom. Three years later, Anderson returns with his second album. City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson features the same mix of both rather energetic tracks and rather laidback ones. While it is very rare to find a second album that is just as strong as or stronger than the first, Anderson has created a follow-up release that is just as strong as his first album and proves to have been well worth the three-year wait between releases.

To hear some of Ryan Joseph Anderson’s music, check out his song “Shadowboxer“.

For more information, check out Ryan Joseph Anderson’s PR firm NoVo Management and Publicity.

To check out City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson, click on the album cover below:

City of Vines