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