Monday, 16 April 2012
Review: Ryan Flaherty
Ryan Flaherty - Here Comes Everyone (Independent)
For six years, up until 2011, Ryan Flaherty played guitar in Ameranouche, a well-respected gypsy-jazz trio who shared stages with Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Now solo, he retains his love of Romany strings, but includes a whole host of other influences, from Eastern European and Arabic folk, to flamenco and Parisian café styles. Add to that a singer-songwriter bent and some lively Americana tunes, and you’ll understand that just because a man is born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois (that’s where Flaherty calls ‘home’), musical inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere.
Though I’ve described Flaherty as a solo artist, he does in fact work and record with a talented group of musicians who breathe fire into his songs and arrangements. Upright bass player Duane Edwards sparkles throughout the recording, working closely with Flaherty’s rhythmic guitar to provide the requisite swing, and Phil Bloch (violin) and Laura Balladur (accordion) supply much of the colour. When taken as a whole, it’s their enthusiasm and energy that first impresses. “When It Comes” leaves the blocks like it’s in a hurry to get somewhere, with Jennie Backstrom’s backing vocals augmenting the experience with something sweet and chewy. Second track “Make Things Right” is a little calmer, and allows the first opportunity for Flaherty’s songwriting to shine through (together with a vigorous solos from lead guitarist Michael Arciero and Bloch). “One Foot” releases Flaherty’s inner Tom Waits to fine effect, and perhaps best of all is “Ecstacy” which combines a south-of-the-border vibe with Flaherty and Backstrom sharing vocals in a most agreeable fashion.