Fishbowl Records will be hosting Ryan Balthrop this Thursday, July 14th in our weekly Artist Showcase at The Shed. Ryan also has his album release party with 92Zew at The Shed on Tuesday, July 12th so come out on both occasions for some great talent and live music! We got the chance to talk with Ryan this week about his music and what he has been up to so check it out!
Fishbowl Records: What got you into music?
Ryan Balthrop: My big brother Pascal, was my first influence. He was into a lot of underground stuff back in the late 80′s like REM, Violent Femmes, They Might Be Giants, The Pixies, etc. It was his band out of high school “The Borden Sparrows” that really got me into the live performance side of it. I used to watch them play at The Four Strong Winds Coffee House back in the day. Whatever day that was. Some girl accidentally put her cigarette out on my face.
FR: Sounds rough! Well when did you start playing and what does the presence of music mean in your life today (whatever day this is)?
Ryan Balthrop: Music is really the only thing I can see myself doing for a living. I sang in the school choir as a kid, and have evolved many times since then. My main focus now is to write new material that is heartfelt, and to perform it when I find myself in the right venue to express those feelings. Other than that, I will keep playing my stuff, and other peoples songs that I like, in order to make a living.
FR: How long have you been playing?
Ryan Balthrop: I started singing with Buzz Carpenter at Bojangles when I was bussing tables there in high school around ’90-’91. Then my first band “Drinkers and Dreamers” had our first show at The Sundowner Lounge on Old Shell Rd. on March 31st 1994. The band then changed the name to Cold Water Flat, and then to Slow Moses.
FR: That sounds really cool… Sounds like you’ve been playing around Mobile for awhile! Are there any hot spots you frequent often?
Ryan Balthrop: I have hosted the Open Mic Night on Mondays at The Garage on and off since 1996. And have been playing a regular gig at Joe Cains Cafe in The Battlehouse Hotel on Royal St. Wednesdays with Keith Williams Jr. and solo on Thursdays, occasionally having friends fill in for me.
FR: Where are you favorite places to play?
Ryan Balthrop: My favorite place to play ever is Ivan’s Stress Free Bar and Campground in Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands. It’s an honor bar, you make your own drinks. When you leave, you add up your tab, and put the money in the tackle box behind the bar. It is a magical place on the Caribbean.
FR: Well I will be planning a trip to the Virgin Islands in the near future! Ha ha, so do you travel a lot with your music?
Ryan Balthrop: I used to live in St. John, and I have been touring down there at least once a year since moving back in 2002. I’m booking a short solo tour of Denmark, Holland, and Norway in September this year, and got invited to play on The Rock Legends Cruise in December, along with ZZ Top, Dickie Betts, George Thorogood, Foghat, Johnny Winter, Marshall Tucker band, and others. Not sure if I can hang with them guys, but it’s gonna be gnarly.
FR: That is AWESOME! Have any of these artists inspired your music, or what artists do inspire you?
Ryan Balthrop: Paul Simon, JJ Cale, Randy Newman, Hank Becker, Wet Willie…
FR: Any favorites?
Ryan Balthrop: “Balthrop, Alabama” (my big bro and kid sis’s band www.balthropalabama.com)
FR: How would you describe your music?
Ryan Balthrop: Southern neo-folk with an island flavor. Also some gospel thrown in lyrically.
FR: Do you write all of your songs, and if so, where does the meaning come from?
Ryan Balthrop: I write a lot about personal conflicts, and relationships. But I most like to write about the hereafter. The other side. What is waiting for us? Do you know? No you don’t, that’s why people keep writing about it. We are all searching for answers, and one day, we will all find them.
FR: That’s very true, and interesting! Now let’s talk about your CD release party… What are you looking forward to the most?
Ryan Balthrop: I am looking most forward to performing with so many of my friends, old and new. And having my family and friends there to support me.
FR: What did it take to get this CD together and out to the public?
Ryan Balthrop: It has been about a year in the making. Mike Manning at MEKA Studios in Theodore, AL has put so much time and energy into the project, that it has become as much his album, as it is mine. We have worked very hard this past year, while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere that promoted creativity and productivity. MEKA was named after Mikes four sons. Matthew, Evan, Kevin, and Alex. It is truly a gem waiting to be discovered by Mobile’s rapidly growing music scene. Mobile Hard Core Rap favorites, Phunk Blue Moon have also been recording there, among others. (www.mekastudios.com)
FR: Well congratulations! We are excited to hear it. You mentioned the Mobile music scene, where would you like to see the Mobile, AL music scene headed in the next ten years?
Ryan Balthrop: For the most part, I would like to see it heading in the direction it is going. I would like to see more bars that host live local bands, charge a cover, and see less people that enjoy live music, complaining about paying a couple bucks for the band. Other than that- Hangout Fest is the best thing to happen to the Gulf Coast, musically, ever, in my humble opinion. This past year was almost unreal. The Saenger Theater is bringing in some great acts, and 92Zew is hosting some great shows. Space 301 is a really cool addition to the live performance culture in Mobile. The LoDa Artwalk is really impressive with all the bands on the sidewalks, and honestly this area has more live music venues than most any other town I’ve ever visited. Maybe that’s why the people around here are so spoiled. Ha ha, jus kiddin’, uh huh.
FR: Well thank you so much for talking with us! We can’t wait to listen to you perform next Tuesday and Thursday! Best of luck.
For all you Fishbowl Record readers, don’t forget to check out Ryan Balthrop at The Shed for our Artist Showcase on Thursday, July 14th! You can visit his web site at www.ryanbalthrop.com. See you there!