Spring/Summer Tour Dates - Workshops, Bentonia Blues Fest and Club Passim!

After a thrilling weekend in April at Clarksdale’s Juke Joint Festival, I'm about to hit the road again for a 3 week stretch of US gigs in May and June, playing songs from my latest album "River Music," with a route that brings me from my hometown of Boston on a pilgrimage to the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Mississippi for the annual Bentonia Blues Festival on Thursday, June 13. I'll not only be playing shows, but also recording, teaching along the way and doing a lot of learning, too. When I get home to Boston, I'll be playing on a fantastic bill - June 26th at the legendary Club Passim in Cambridge, opening for Third Man Records' excellent 12 string guitarist/historian Todd Albright from Detroit.

Check out the schedule below and follow me on Facebook and Instagram for real-time updates from the road!


Blues Guitar Workshop May 31st
Acoustic Music Works, Pittsburgh PA

As part of my upcoming tour schedule, I will be teaching a 2 hour workshop on fingerstyle blues guitar, with a concert the following night. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, I hope you can join us.  To reserve a spot, send an email to raymond@acousticmusicworks.com.

Ryan Lee Crosby
Juke Joint Festival 2019!

Catch me around Clarksdale, Mississippi on April 12 and 13 for the world famous Juke Joint Festival!

I will be playing Fender electric 12 string with Grant Smith on calabash.

Here’s our schedule:

Friday morning - Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Arts 11am
Friday night - New Roxy 8:15pm
Saturday afternoon - Paramount Marquee Stage 1pm
Saturday afternoon - Bluesberry CAFE 3pm

The best of the best in Mississippi blues will be playing from Thursday-Sunday. We are thrilled and honored to be a part of Juke Joint Festival. See you out there!

About JJF:

Clarksdale's annual Juke Joint Festival is a one of kind experience for blues enthusiasts, drawing musicians and music lovers from all over the US and around the world. Featuring some of Mississippi's finest blues musicians as well as artists from beyond the Delta and a wide variety of related events, it's not to be missed!

Related Events run Thursday-Sunday April 11-14, and the main event itself is all day/night Saturday the 13th — with 13 daytime music stages, 20+ nighttime venues, 100 blues acts, 100 street vendors (food, arts & crafts, etc.), petting zoo, rock wall, history bus tours, educational events, racing pigs, monkeys riding dogs and much more. One of the friendliest festivals in the world, Clarksdale's Juke Joint Fest is "half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta!"


Ryan Lee Crosby
Blue Front Reflections

Many, many thanks to Jimmy “Duck” Holmes and the wonderful people at the Blue Front Cafe, especially Sam Tucker and Gilbert Vowell for bringing me to this historic treasure of American music in Bentonia, MS. It was an honor to learn from Mr. Holmes and to play the blues as I’ve come to know it in the same room where Skip James, Jack Owens and Jimmy “Duck” Holmes have all carried on the tradition of the Bentonia blues style.

If you have an interest in American music, especially the singular sound of Bentonia, do not wait to make your own pilgrimage to the Blue Front Cafe, which is the world’s oldest Juke Joint and the only place to hear the real Bentonia blues from Mississippi.

Extra special thanks to Nick Loss-Eaton for making the trip with me and playing harp during my set.

Photos by Nick Loss-Eaton and Gilbert Vowell


Ryan Lee Crosby
Live at the Blue Front Cafe, Bentonia MS 2.22.19

The Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Mississippi is the oldest surviving juke joint in MS and a historic treasure of American music. See you there Feb 22 with the great Jimmy "Duck" Holmes and some of the finest blues artists from the region. It is an honor and privilege to come down from Boston to play and learn from Mr. Holmes himself, the last of the Bentonia bluesmen. Thanks to Gilbert Vowell for putting me in touch and supporting my love for this music.

Blue Front Flyer.jpg
Ryan Lee Crosby
Boston album release show Friday November 16 at City Winery

Tickets are now available for the November 16th “River Music” album release party at City Winery Boston. Order yours here!


Fresh off of his seventh tour of Europe, Ryan Lee Crosby celebrates the release of his new album River Music with an eclectic performance at City Winery on Friday, November 16, 7:30pm. River Music blends essences of American folk-blues and North Indian raga into meditative songs of impermanence, compassion and joy. Crosby will sing and perform on 12 string guitar, 6 string guitar and chaturangui (22 string Indian slide guitar) and will be joined at City Winery by his intercontinental bandmates.

Through his recordings and performances, Crosby hopes to inspire peace, openness and respect. His music-making is an inward process: creativity through meditation, devotion and discipline. But it is also oriented around community-building, guided by the potential of music to connect the internal to the external, the individual to the group, and to bridge seemingly disparate cultures and traditions.

River Music, Crosby’s sixth full-length album, will be available on LP and CD on 10.10.18, co-released by Germany’s CosiRecords Schallplatten and Seattle’s Knick Knack Records. The result of years of study and practice, River Music features six original songs, one traditional and one cover.

The original track “I’m Dissatisfied” features twangy guitar lines and bluesy harmonica over accented tabla rhythms. Crosby credits legendary bluesman Robert Belfour for inspiring the guitar work, after Crosby met Belfour in Mississippi shortly before his death. Crosby says the track’s lyrics are “a traditional blues theme of dissatisfaction or being bothered, but when I sing it, I think about the experience of meditation. I experience a connection between meditation and playing blues. Both involve sitting and being with the suffering around what bothers you.”

Crosby compares his band to a flowing river of music; each performance is like a cup from the river and the instrumental title track “River Music” exemplifies this. The song was created out of an improvisation session with the band, based on a kaharwa taal, (a tabla rhythm) performed by Koushik Chakrabarty and features a stunning calabash solo performed by Grant Smith.

The album culminates with “Since I Lay My Burden Down”, a well known hymn originating in the African American spiritual tradition. Crosby’s version features a bouncing tabla, shuffling guitar and a dramatic vocal line, altering between crowing in his deep, yawning registers and his potent midrange. Crosby was greatly influenced by Mississippi Fred McDowell‘s rendition of this song and has an intimate relationship with this piece of music. Crosby first performed the song at the funeral of his recently deceased Southern Baptist mother, and he continues to feel a sense of communion with her when he plays it.

A veteran of the local music scene, Crosby has evolved through many musical incarnations. He first started performing in Boston in 2001 as the lead singer/guitarist of punk band Cancer to the Stars. The punk-rocker, turned award-winning singer-songwriter, became a masterful blues-guitarist, and now student of Hindustani classical raga, Crosby tours Europe annually and select US regions. He currently lives in Medford, Massachusetts and performs regularly in the greater Boston area.

Ryan Lee Crosby
New reviews in for "River Music"

River Music is out now in Europe! Reviews are starting to come in:

From Germany’s hippiesland.de

and Belgium’s rootsville.eu:

Multi-instrumentalist Ryan Lee Crosby is on his sixth full CD with this "River Music". Often this Boston-based bluesman plays with an intercontinental formation. The album is released for Europe by the German Cosi Records and for his homeland this happens via Knick Knack Records from Seattle.

For those who have no affinity with Ryan Lee Crosby we can immediately say that his "blues" has something intriguing. Partly due to the use of the Oriental slide guitar, the points of contact are of course close to the raga music. But also by using African instruments such as the West African calabash, the Mali blues is soon within reach.

On this "River Music" we find 8 songs, the majority of which are of course written by Ryan Lee himself. The most noteworthy song on this album is the RL Burnside classic "Going Down South" that blends the blues from the North Mississippi with the textures of North Indian Hindu classical raga music. He finishes with the spiritual "Since I Lay My Burden Down" and with this, "River Music" belongs to the better folk and world blues albums.

Ryan Lee Crosby
New Rob Noyes + Ryan Lee Crosby cassette release show September 19

"Modal Improvisations for 34 Strings," the debut cassette from the Rob Noyes/Ryan Lee Crosby duo, sold out in its first few days! A 2nd edition is currently being made by the Cabin Floor Esoterica label in Ohio. We will have a few copies on hand for the release show on September 19 at Streetcar Wines in Jamaica Plain, MA at 8pm. If you want a copy, but can't make it, place your order with Cabin Floor Esoterica on their Bandcamp page.

The tape has received some favorable press and radio, which can be found at the following links:

Sideways Through Sound radio show
Play Something Good w/John Foster radio show
Dusted Magazine album review
Boston Hassle album review

Noyes:Crosby Tape.jpg
Ryan Lee Crosby
New album + videos/fall EU tour/July shows in New England

I am pleased to announce that I am joining forces with Knick Knack Records in Seattle, WA and CosiRecords in Oberhausen, Germany, to release my new album River Music on vinyl and digital formats this October. Tour dates will follow in the EU from October 25-November 12 with concerts in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. More detail to follow soon.

Here is a video of us playing "I'm Dissatisfied," as part of the River Music recording session at The Soul Shop in Medford.

And here is another video from a recent performance at the Charles River Museum of Industry with Debo Band's Danny Mekonnen. We did an unrehearsed, improvised set with Koushik Chakrabarty on tabla. For me, it was a thrilling experience. Have a look on YouTube.

Locally in New England, I will be playing 2 shows at the end of July with my friends Ted Drozdowski and Lloyd Thayer. We are doing a couple of "in the round" performances at Stubblebine Lutherie in Somerville MA and the Galactic Theatre in Warren, RI on July 27 and 28. Check out the event invite here.

And for those in Boston who are organized around mind/body wellness, you can find me playing my 22 string Chaturangui every Wednesday in Nicoline's class at Samara Yoga at 5:45 and also this month I'm also playing in class with Anna at ASANA on July 10 at 6:15.

In peace,


Ryan Lee Crosby
European Tour March 2018

New tour dates added for March 2018 - first shows in Italy, with new venues in Switzerland, Germany and Holland. I'll be playing solo, traveling once again with my label mate Thisell, from Sweden. All shows are listed on the Live page.

Ryan Lee Crosby