CD REVIEW: Steve Ryan - Boundless Moments
By Cyrus Rhodes - 06/10/2013 - 02:42 PM EDT
Artist: Steve Ryan
Album: Boundless Moments
Label: Independent Artist
Sounds Like: Phillip Bailey, De Barge, Jamiroquai
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Real Time, Say it Aint So, Still in Love
Weakness: Overwhelming Vocal Intensity, a few winded songs
Ryan is a singer/songwriter originally from Georgia. Creativity was always something that came to him naturally. At only the age of eight, he began writing poetry and taught himself to play piano. A tough childhood made him determined to develop the ability to express himself through lyrics and music. Throughout his teen years, he learned guitar, developed his songwriting, and took part in talent shows and vocal performances. His latest release is entitled Boundless Moments released in 2013.
The CD kicks things off with upbeat “Real Time” a melodic jazz-guitar driven intro groove that’s serves up driving rock rhythm, infectious musical groove meshed against emotionally charged vocal delivery from Ryan. Track 2 “Your Stare” serves up a smooth yet moving Jazz piece with methodical intro, melodic musical flow coupled with hooky harmonies and impressive vocal accents. Track 3 “Easier Said than Done” shifts gears with its pop-rock style eventually lending itself into an amazing musical piece meshed with impressive guitar ambience and heartfelt vocal delivery from Ryan that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of Phillip Bailey, De Barge, and even Jamiroquai. Right from the start you will notice Ryan and company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. Besides the 4 piece standard the overall musical vibe has a nice, melodic poppy, hooky feel to it. The guitar playing is rock solid across the board as Ryan and company dish out impressive guitar licks, rock solid rhythm guitar playing, impressive piano, well placed percussion accents, organ, keyboards, and string accents meshed with lush vocal harmonies layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. Ryan’s got solid vocal timber and is full of passion and recklessness abandon. He's got all the vocal skill sets required and and demonstrates an impressive vibratto and a solid falscetto. The musicianship from all the other members of the band has everything you would expect. The songs themselves are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove. The production quality is rock solid with crystal clear high end clarity and solid low end punch. From heartfelt “Don’t Tell Me” and “I Think I Love You” to smooth “Reach” to melodic “Pride with Humility” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 Reach Into Your Soul (Dance re-Mix). The perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Once again Ryan has all the vocal skill sets necessary to be professional singer. However some of Ryan’s vocal performances are over the top and his widely spaced vibrato may take a toll on some listeners. If I could say anything to Ryan right now – during some of the slower moments dial back the intensity a bit, ride that pocket and build your emotional delivery as the song builds. Save that power for all the finale moments. This will create a more vocal peak and valley throughout your songs. There's a time and palce for power and emotion.
In close Boundless Moments by Steve Ryan is an impressive 11 song release. Ryan and company bring the mojo and some. If he has a slam dunk live presentation then that would be a deadly combination no doubt. The songs are extremely melodic, passionate, funky and highly entertaining – and clearly prove this artist is on to something special. One would be wise to keep a watchful on him over the years to come.
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