There are some who believe that folk music is lost to the times of moonshine stills and glorified outlaws. Yet Ryan from the Shire, with his release “Surrender to the Panic,” proves that folk music is eternal; a profound American expression. The album begs the listener to consider the world as a palette for quiet introspection. The mood of the album is despondent and bleak, prevailing in heavy-hearted tales of lost love and personal despair. Ryan himself described the recording as, “A booze soaked anthem of heartache.”
I couldn’t agree more. “Surrender to the Panic” is the culmination of a year spent recording. Ryan painstakingly produced the entire album, engineering every note and nuance by himself. He is part of growing minority of musicians whom embrace home recording. By rejecting the exuberant costs of studio time, Ryan had complete creative control of his music. In doing this, he retains self-satisfaction in the final product. Ryan had wise words for those who wanted to record their own album: “Get a 4 track, don’t be afraid to sound stupid, and always sing from the heart.”
Of all the 10 tracks on the album, “The Wind”, “Fake Smile for the Camera”, and “Feeling Cold” have the most permanent resonance. Ryan also puts on a great live show. He is known for heckling the crowd with his jabs at popular culture in between songs. Lo-fi in the truest sense of the word, Ryan pulls influence from M. Ward, Tallest Man on Earth, Woodie Guthrie, Robert Zimmerman, and Cass McCombs. My friends, “Surrender to the Panic” isn’t a record to be missed.
For more information on Ryan from the Shire, please visit his website at http://www.myspace.com/shirefolk. You can also purchase “Surrender to the Panic” at http://www.ryanfromtheshire.webs.com.