Stir In Some Fiddle: Mike Ryan’s new single has a little NWA flavor

Stir In Some Fiddle: Mike Ryan’s new single has a little NWA flavor
BECCA MARTIN-BROWN
bmartin@nwadg.com


If a fiddle can sound familiar, fans of the four-stringed, bowed instrument should listen carefully to Mike Ryan’s new single, “Jacket On.” It’s a traditional country song — love and loss and love again — with Ryan’s smooth tenor vocals backed by the jumping hot fiddle of Springdale native Jenee Fleenor.

It’s the first time Ryan, who is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and Fleenor, who lives in Nashville, have worked together with producer Bart Butler in a Nashville recording studio, but Ryan hopes it isn’t the last. “She’s just incredible,” he says of Fleenor.

He also credits “Jacket On” to his co-writers, Brandy Clark and Brent Anderson.

“It was the first time we had written together, although I’ve written with Brent a ton of times, and he’s written with Brandy a ton, so there was a good bit of chemistry there,” Ryan says. “Sometimes songwriting is a real pain and a grind, but not this time. I think we were done 90 minutes into the session.”

“Jacket On” is a prelude to a full-length recording Ryan hopes to release soon.

“We’ve kept the singles coming out, but it seemed a strange time to release an album — during the pandemic — because we couldn’t tour to support it.”

Ryan says gigs with his band went from more than 100 shows a year down to maybe 30 during the height of covid-19 in 2020.

“We didn’t really dodge the pandemic,” he says in answer to a question. “We more or less just rode it out. It was quite a change from our normal touring schedule. We had a lot of time off. That wasn’t all bad. I have little boys, 2 and 4, and I got to be there for a lot of growing up. But it seems like we’re getting closer to where we were before. We’re at least playing a couple of shows most weekends.”

Ryan just finished a three-night stint with Riley Green’s WE OUT HERE tour and opened for Miranda Lambert for three nights. On Jan. 28, he’ll stop at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville — not a new venue for his band, he says, but one he always enjoys coming back to. “Things are looking up!”

Without tour statistics to measure success in the past couple of years — and knowing record sales are no longer a yardstick for any band — Ryan looks to streaming for numbers. He’s garnered an impressive 200 million career streams to date, with 26 of his songs racking up more than 1 million streams each and 13 of those with more than 5 million streams. Seven of his songs have landed at No. 1 on the Texas Music charts, and his third full-length studio album, “Blink You’ll Miss It” was No. 15 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart and Top 40 on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart.

Ryan says his career debuted about the same time streaming did as a source for music, and he muses that his eclectic style might make the road slightly rougher than it would be if his work could be described in one sentence. Instead, he says he’s the product of growing up in San Antonio listening to ’90s country stars like George Strait, Clint Black and Alan Jackson seasoned with the music his parents liked — the Eagles, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.

“I got into the blues for awhile,” he remembers. “I was a huge Stevie Ray Vaughan fan. A lot of different styles of music have passed through my ears. It’s hard to pick a stand-alone favorite artist or song or even genre. If you listen to my records, you’ll hear a lot of variety; there’s not one vein I hang out in more than the others. So it’s really fun to try different things in the studio, and I appreciate the producers and the players they hook me up with!”

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FAQ

Mike Ryan

WHEN — 9 p.m. Jan. 28

WHERE — George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville

COST — $15-$20

INFO — georgesmajesticlounge.com

FYI: Jacob Stelly will open. The show is for ages 18 & older.

Categories: Music