Postcard from Vermont
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, singer/songwriter Ryan Kirby has been composing music for more than 20 years. Music was a guiding element of his childhood, and his passion for it came naturally. By the time he was sixteen, Ryan was performing in local clubs as a guitarist with other artists around the Birmingham music scene. In 1998, the band Three Finger Cowboy was signed to Daemon Records, which was owned and operated by Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. Ryan played bass on Three Finger Cowboy's first release, 'Kissed,' and the band garnered some national exposure through touring and a mention in Rolling Stone magazine. Ryan calls St. Louis, Missouri, home these days, and since 2000, he has been practicing law while he and his wife, Mary Catherine, continue raising their three children. He never stopped writing songs, and in 2010 Ryan started performing his original music at local open-mic nights. He received such positive responses from the open-mic community that he was motivated to form his first rock band since Three Finger Cowboy-a group he dubbed The Gravelmen. Although he enjoys the energy of The Gravelmen, Ryan has not lost his original passion for folk and what is now classified as Americana music. He continues in this tradition by performing solo shows around St. Louis. Ryan just finished recording his first solo album, Postcard From Vermont, at Wishbone Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Mike McGuire, of famed country act Shenandoah, engineered and co-produced the record with Ryan, and it features many of the tunes Ryan has been performing over the past year, such as "Mercy Wheel," "Come and Go" and "Lonesome River Road." The sessions went smoothly, Ryan relates. Fellow St. Louis songwriter Kevin Renick, who has had major success with his track 'Up in the Air," featured in the George Clooney movie of the same title, has championed Ryan's work since they met at a songwriting workshop in early 2010. "Ryan has that rare gift of not only being authentic, but he also has sharp instincts about the craft of songwriting," says Kevin. "His way with a melody, the chord progressions he plays on his guitar, and his absolute conviction when he sings-it all works together to deliver an emotional wallop for the listener. He's got a classic, heartfelt sound." Kevin and Ryan have begun performing shows together, and they are looking to put together some tour dates in the late spring and summer of 2011. Meanwhile, Ryan looks forward to sharing his new recording with listeners both nationally and overseas, and to continuing his unpredictable musical journey. The songs keep coming, too-'Two Loves' on his record was composed during the January sessions in Muscle Shoals.