june 2024

23jun7:30 pm10:30 pmRYAN DAVISSecret Sunday Sessions 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm Cost: £7 adv.


Event Details


At the frayed bottom-edge of Indiana – just a moderate bike ride north of Louisville, Kentucky – multi-instrumentalist, artist
and songwriter Ryan Davis’ Americana-noir soundwaves have been emanating for years in a myriad of forms. As driving
force for the lauded State Champion, long-running member of Tropical Trash, administrator of the esoteric and excellent
Cropped Out festival, and lone proprietor of the Sophomore Lounge label, Davis lays down his first proper ‘solo’ release with
Dancing On The Edge – a rich, 2-LP tapestry of tunes that absolutely glows over seven expansive cuts. It’s a pure collage of
modernity and heritage.

After a period of introspection spent re-immersing himself in his drawing & painting practice, as well as his newfound
delvings into instrumental music, Davis’ sea change was imminent. “I wasn’t sure I would ever make another record of ‘song’
songs,” he says, “but last year I started writing again and it eventually took the shape of the record at hand. I worked
painstakingly hard on the material. It felt virtually impossible to complete for a bulk of the time I spent trying to enter into it,
but the process pulled me out of a strange place. I was eventually able to live inside of the songs enough to understand the
world within them – to ultimately help shape them into what I understood them to be.” Indeed, there’s a load of inspiration
captured in the grooves with Ryan’s unfiltered, folk-traditioned approach to poetic twists-of-tongue meeting head on with
sublime instrumentation.

Recorded in early 2023 with help both in-studio and remotely from peers like Joan Shelley, Catherine Irwin (Freakwater), Will
Lawrence (Felice Brothers, Gun Outfit, John Early), Jenny Rose (Giving Up), Christopher May (Mail the Horse), Elisabeth
Fuchsia (Footings, Bonnie “Prince” Billy), and Aaron Rosenblum (Son of Earth, Sapat), ‘Dancing on the Edge’ draws backup
perhaps primarily from Davis’ tight-knit drinking buddies-cum-cast of collaborators in Equipment Pointed Ankh (records on
Astral Editions, Bruit Direct Disques, Torn Light) – a five-headed hive-mind from which he drew impetus for his own foray into
more abstract and improvisational terrain these past few years under the Roadhouse alias. The results herein are
melancholic, gentle, minimal yet colorful in mood: a lilting highway accompaniment of crisp instrumentation and a relaxed,
amiable approach to vocals with rhapsodic wordsmithery. Fans of the aforementioned artists as well as those of Souled
American, David Berman, Kurt Vile and ‘Comes A Time’-era Neil should all easily find bounty.

Booking Agent [UK & IRL] : Reuben Myles Tyghe at OUTSIDER ARTISTS
Contact : reuben@outsider-artists.co.uk // +44 (0) 7539 708260

While bare-boned and uncluttered in presentation, many of these pieces track over 6 minutes allowing a fair amount of
expansiveness. “Flashes of Orange” percolates with synthetic and organic percussion while Davis ruminates on how “a
steady drip falls from the ceiling to my forehead / a pitter-patter of my past mistakes” as a Cale-esque violin chatters through
impressionistic fields of pedal steel. It’s got an absence of recurring verses, replaced by an ever-unfolding story, words
spotlighted by tasteful flanging synths and lovely key shifts as finally the titular hook lifts its proceedings up into the clouds.
Other times the humor shines: tales of a jukebox that “only plays ‘Sultans of Swing’” in “Junk Drawer Heart,” ruminations like
“soon I’ll be seen as a problem for the neighbors / soon I’ll be seen as a trophy for the precinct” in “Free From the Guillotine,”
and of course the simple proclamation of “A Suitable Exit” being “I never asked to be born / I was only wondering where the
door went to.”

Tracked & mixed by Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets (Pawtucket, RI) and mastered for vinyl by Tohru Kotetsu at
Tokyo’s legendary JVC Mastering Center, Dancing On The Edge stares down into the navel of the American Experience
underbelly with a fair amount of outward reach. Besides the Kosmische-synth and violin stabs reaching into a European
element, stately organ swells build a musical bridge between 1969 Southern California and Felt’s latter era smooth moves,
with layers of intelligent gesture taking this well beyond the realm of its archetypal indie troubadour/acoustic songwriter tag.
Music and mint juleps never went down so well together.

“This is the sound of someone bearing a torch.” – Bill Callahan

“Davis’ talents are immense: vivid imagery and clever one-liners pulling epiphanies from the sacred, mundane, and profane.”

– Jon Blistein (Rolling Stone)

“On the latest and perhaps greatest notch in the storied songwriter’s belt, Ryan Davis is tipping his beer to a world in moral

and constitutional decline.” – Chad DePasquale (Aquarium Drunkard, Best of 2023)

“(His solo debut) Dancing on the Edge is singular and strong enough to put Davis in league with some of the very best
American songwriters of the past and present. He’s someone with the originality, wit and ambition to cut through the murk.

Someone worth paying attention to.” – Tyler Wilcox (Uncut)

“In Kurt Vonnegut’s debut novel, 1952’s Player Piano, the author delivered one of his defining ideas through the mouth of his
character Ed Finnerty: “Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center… Big, undreamed-of
things—the people on the edge see them first.” Seventy years on, this Kentucky-based songwriter traces life’s edges in the
same spirit, contemplating the human capacities for open-hearted euphoria and harrowing pain… In his investigation of the
human spirit, Davis has learned to embrace worry and wonder as companions for a restless heart. His place at the edge may
be perilous, precarious, and occasionally lonely, but it’s got one hell of a view.” – Allison Hussey (Pitchfork, *7.9 /Best

Rock Records of 2023 / Associate Editor Sam Sodomsky’s #2 Best Album of 2023)
“A treasure trove of brilliant songwriting and winding, unhurried alt-americana.” – Joe Graham (Americana UK)
“Like freewheeling meditations on the human condition, Davis’ songs tackle big issues (existential angst, disappointment,
loneliness, death) with sharp wit and gallows humor… I’ve been spinning Dancing on the Edge for weeks, and I still don’t feel
like I’ve fully plumbed its depths. Much like the best work of David Berman (who once called Davis “one of the best lyricists
going”), these songs will continue to reveal their layers for years to come.” – David Wilikofsky (Undercurrents)
* Best of 2023 / year-end list inclusions from: Aquarium Drunkard, CHIRP Radio, Free Form Freakout, Goner
Records, Matador Records, Medium, Merge Records, Pitchfork, Repressed Records, Rolling Stone, Rosy Overdrive,

Teenage Hate, Uproxx ++


(Sunday) 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm

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