Ryan Beaver embodies everything that is right with country music. His songs have both impact and depth; he knows how to create a riveting work that stays with you long after the last chorus fades. His latest single, “Dark” (available today, October 2), is arguably his finest work to date. It is a powerfully poignant track that rolls in like a great approaching storm, but when it hits, it brings a sizzle of thrills and goosebumps, not rain.
“Before I moved to Nashville, I traveled a tremendous amount around the Southwest Plains,” Ryan told The Rowdy in a recent interview. “We were doing about 160 dates a year in an old van with a trailer, just hitting it hard and learning what the road was like. I was traveling about the Midland, Texas area doing some radio. If you’re familiar with the territories, you know it’s just so flat that you can see for miles. I was driving between Midland and Austin and I noticed this storm. I watched it coming across the landscape out there and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s what our problems were like? What if we could see them coming from way out there so you could prepare yourself?’”
And that’s how Ryan got his opening line, “Way out here, you can feel it coming, you don’t need no weatherman.”
“It just came so organically,” he noted. “I usually write songs on my own, but I went to a couple of buddies of mine (Ryan Tyndell and Matt Nolen) and it was just one of those days when the song wrote you, you know? It hit a nerve with me just because of my overall state of where I was, why I do music, and all of that.”
“When you call yourself a musician and you’re creating something, you have a role to play, you’re supposed to be offering something to the people who are going to be listening. Maybe you give them the same feeling that you got when you were growing up and you heard something and it just hit you — maybe it made you tingle — and you connected to it. We owe it to our listeners to try and do that as a songwriter.”
Ryan expressed that some writers put their heart into everything that they do while others have become so caught up in the business aspect that they’ve compartmentalized their craft and they no longer feel anything when they write. “It’s got to be about more than the cash!” he asserted. “When you do this full-time, you can’t help but get burned out — that goes for anything you do all of the time — but you need to take a step back and really try and find that feeling you had when you were 13 and playing in your first garage band!”
“I’ve hit this phase where I’m finally feeling like I know who I am,” he added. “I know what I want to do, I’m not a young cat, I’m at what I like to call level three,” he laughed. “I’m in my 30s and I think that what’s great about that is when you are in your 20s you’re figuring it all out, but once you pass that stage, you start to feel good about what you’re doing and where you are at. You start to understand it all.”
One of the drawbacks that Ryan finds inherent in the storytelling aspect of country music is the fact that it’s typically a very exact and precise thing. “First this happened, then this happened, and then this happened,” he explained. “With rock, it’s a little more up to the listener to determine the story and apply their own self to the song. I think I live somewhere in the middle. I’ve been a fan of both, so when I’m writing a song, I try to add a little bit of each: there needs to be a personal journey for the listener, but the message has to be clear.”
Ryan’s unique approach recently won him over a very important fan. Actually, it might have been the key aspect that secured him a spot opening for one of his dream artists.
“I have been a fan of Ashley Monroe for a really long time,” he enthused. “I have a lot of respect for her because she does not compromise herself. Sure, she wants to do really well, but at the same time, she’s doing what she does and not wavering. I admire that.”
When Ryan started working with a company called Crush Music and it came time to talk about doing shows, he told the company that he would love to open for Ashley. [Monroe is part of Crush Music, as well.] So, they offered him a chance to open for her in Nashville. “She had most of her family there,” Ryan recalled, “I think it was her granddad who came up to me and said, ‘I really like your show, it was really loud and rocking!’ So, I think that was my approval,” he laughed.
“Ashley has this fantastic new record called The Blade, and she’s going on her own headlining tour, so between the Crush Music connection and approval from her family, I’ll be opening for her while she’s on tour through November!”
Ryan Beaver’s latest song, “Dark,” is available today, so pick it up and feel that tingle of excitement again! Then, catch him out on the road with the incredible Ashley Monroe. And, be sure to follow Ryan on social media because his upcoming new record, Rx, will be available shortly, but the exact release date has yet to be determined.