Entertainment Local

24 Minutes with Ryan Kinder

By Joe Leary

Ryan Kinder. (Robby Klein Photo)

Ryan Kinder. (Robby Klein Photo)

Rolling Stone Magazine named him “A Country artist to watch in 2017” and last year Spotify made the same declaration.

Prior to his appearance Friday, July 28 at the Commodore Ballroom, Joe Leary spent 24 Minutes with Ryan Kinder.

I read that it was John Mayer’s music that influenced you. How early did music enter your life?

Music was a part of my life from an early age. My grandmother played piano when we went to visit. Church hymns, Christmas tunes. Things like that. My mother was always playing music, too. She was my foray into the "Troubadour Era" of artists, as I like to call them. Jackson Browne, Linda Rondstat, The Eagles, Carole King, James Taylor.

Baseball was a passion. Was it something that you may have been good enough to pursue?

I'd like to think I was good enough to pursue it for a little while, but I'll never know! I definitely wasn't major league good by any, any stretch.

How long before you became totally immersed in music?

The moment I picked up a guitar in my 8th grade music class I was in 100%. I was enamoured with everything to do with the guitar. 

You’ve been referred to as the John Mayer of country. Have you had the opportunity to meet him?

That always makes the 2001 kid in me ecstatic to hear. "Room For Squares" is my guitar grimoire. I learned every single song, lick, and melody from that album and it's still apparent in how I play today. He's the reason I delved so deep into trying to be a player. I have not had the opportunity to meet him. I've always heard "never meet your heroes" but if the chance came along to at least shake the man's hand and say thanks, I would do it in a heartbeat. 

Were you always leaning toward the country genre?

I believe I've only ever leaned in the direction of making music that I enjoy playing every night and in turn connecting with people enough for them to want to come hear it every night. 

How cool was it to play the Grand Ole Opry? It must be overwhelming to realize how many legends have stood on that stage.

It's an incredible honor to be invited to play such a historical show. There's a sort of reverence you have when you step in that holy circle of worn wood. You step a little lighter, stand a little taller and force yourself to raise your bar a little higher. You're standing where Cash stood. Bring your A game or move aside. 

When did Nashville become your home base?

I began making weekly trips to Nashville from Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2009-2010. I would drive up on Sunday, write on Monday, drive back Monday night, go to class Tuesday through Thursday, tour the southeast Thursday through Saturday then start all over again. It wasn't until the 2011 tornado that hit Tuscaloosa did I fully move to Nashville. It was a plight that gave me a "life's too short" mindset. 

Were you on the Predators bandwagon? How was that experience? It seemed like all of Nashville totally bought in.

I've was going to Preds games with my Godfather long before we were any sort of a good hockey team. Bandwagon fan, I am not. I will say that the arena was sold out or nearly sold out every time I went to a game in the early years. This town embraced hockey way before the rest of the hockey world took notice. It's been a hockey town from the start. The only difference now is we've got a great team. Our goalie, Pekka Rinne, who has been here from the beginning spoke about this in an article he wrote after the unfortunate Cup loss.

Have you been to Vancouver before? You’re playing The Commodore Ballroom and it’s a legendary venue in this city.

I've never been to Vancouver, or Left Canada as my drummer jokes. We're all really excited to have the opportunity to play in ya'lls city and especially that venue. It is a legendary venue indeed. 

Any expectations of Vancouver?

I hope your poutine is as good as Montreal's!