Ryan Goodrich | Awake in a Dream State
Family Average: 4/7
Well I hope you all prepared your minds for a soulful trip down south. We all sat down and had a nice listen to Charlottesville’s own Ryan Goodrich. This is actually his debut album which is always exciting. Fresh ideas first steps, new experiences, and all that junk. In his album Ryan looks to put R&B vibes in a blending machine with Folky tunes. What will come out on the other end?
Listen along on Spotify and read on to find out:
Awake in a Dream State is a completely apt title for this piece of work. The music envelopes you in a hazy and atmospheric soundscape, carried and tempered by varied moments of vocalizations that push and pull. In many ways, this feels like Goodrich’s thesis: a showcase of his immense skill as a multi-instrumentalist. With a heavy influence on folk, emphasizing vocal harmonies and reverbs that rise and fall, it seems to follow in the footsteps of Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver (two bands I love). There’s a real melancholic beauty to Goodrich’s songwriting, and albeit extremely well considered and methodical in its handling, I found myself wanting to hear more instrumental pieces. The opening track featuring that sorrowful horn just hit me like a ton of bricks. Overall, the tracks sometimes felt a little too drawn out, excessive even, and many of the songs bled together. Despite this, the emotion throughout was genuine. I think this guy is a bit of a romantic and this album is undoubtedly a real piece of his heart. That in of itself is pretty enchanting.
The first song was a bit strange and rather disconnected from the style of the rest of the album for me. The trumpet playing and then the “Barry White” talk over, I just didn’t get it. For the rest of the album it was kind of Folk with some soul sprinkled in. I am not a big “folk” fan but I must give him credit, if this is the genre he is going for he appears to have hit his mark. Many of the songs were full of rich poetic lyrics layered with lovely harmonies. There are other songs that stray from this style and I think he is better served sticking with what he is really good at. “Set in Stone” had a real John Mayer quality to it. The vocals were as warm and enveloping as the lyrics. I believe he is a very talented singer/songwriter, however, for me it was just not something I connect with. While I appreciate his work ethic and abilities musically, I don’t really enjoy this type of music. It tends to sound like a lot of the same thing over and over to me. It would have more appeal to me if there were some more energetic tracks. Also he has a lovely voice but on some tracks he does weird stuff with his voice and it’s rather off putting. I felt if he stuck with the harmonies and his real voice that would add to the quality of the album.
I give this a 3/7
My overall impression is that this music feels nice. The singer has a casual approach to his songs, he seems to be very comfortable in the spotlight and he sings effortlessly. He creates a very mellow vibe as he breezes through the tracks, with the confidence of a true professional. His soul music influences are evident and he performs them with a fresh new coat of paint, similar to the way someone takes an old classic and gives it a twist to make it his own. I believe this artist will have mass appeal because he connects with people who enjoy classic folk and soul as well as younger people who would expect something more than the same old same old. The classical piano is the perfect compliment to his vocal styles.
This whole composition works well as an album as the tracks flow effortlessly one after another, yet each track has enough variation to keep the listener interested. The music would do well at a swanking dinner party, or as the backdrop to the end of a hectic day. Put on a little Ryan Goodrich and melt away those annoying aspects of your previous eight hours. You could easily get lost in the music and let it take you to a better place. Thank you Mr. Goodrich for the new set of tires on this old rig.
That melancholic trumpet to open up set the tone for the album which was sad. His lyrics and the way he sings them are full of hurt and emotion.
“I lost touch with my old head long ago.” I like that.
His voice I like too, it’s the type of imperfect cracky voice that just hooks into you and make you want to keep hearing it.
It feels like it should be raining right now. It sounds like his instruments are sad.
The second track was what I really liked, soulful.
The album didn’t change up too much though and the back half kind of all just blended together for me.