“We’re all friends here,” Ryan Star repeated throughout the night in the intimate, dimly lit venue. Rockwood Music Hall’s Stage 3 is a speakeasy basement with seating for about 50, and a trapezoid-shaped stage in one corner. In this hideaway of sorts, Ryan shared stories, sang, and played a baby grand piano and well-worn guitar. The seating area is snug, and you can’t help but to brush against your neighbors at times, but this merely adds to the intimacy. We talked with him and sang along (sometimes in four-part harmony), and it indeed felt like we were all friends.
Ryan is a masterly singer/songwriter who has performed around the world with Bon Jovi, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, Maroon 5, and many other top rock acts. Ryan’s first major label release, 11:59, debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Rock Albums Chart, and No. 4 on the Tastemakers Chart. His 2012 hit, “Stay Awhile,” has over 2 million YouTube views, reached the Top 30 on Billboard, and got him on “The Tonight Show.”
Ryan Star’s newest release is A N G E L S + A N I M A L S—a raw, emotional journey of a man who has loved and lost, and is trying to get back the woman he lives for. Ryan opened with “Sailing On” both on the album, and at Friday’s performance. It is an emotional, almost pleading song on which he demonstrates incredible vocal control. He encouraged audience participation from the start, and we continued to be his background singers and soft chorus throughout a set that included “Space Fugitive,” “World I Used To Know,” “Gone To Heaven,” “F*ck’n Up,” and “Where The Island Ends.” My favorite song was the poetic and passionate “My Life With You”—a perfect Valentine’s Day anthem. Ryan picked up his guitar for one of his “favorite songs ever”—a tender ballad entitled “Bullet.” There were no other musicians on stage, and Ryan impressively executed the song’s powerful bridge and outro.
Talented singer/songwriter Lily Lane (upcoming album, Nothing But Trouble) joined Ryan on stage for the lead single from A N G E L S + A N I M A L S, “Impossible.” The powerhouse single premiered exclusively on Billboard.com six months ago, and has been featured on Fuse TV, RyanSeacrest.com, and other media outlets. Ryan Star’s loyal and enthusiastic fans travel across the country to see him, and many have been following his career for several years. He did not disappoint on Valentine's Day, playing “We Might Fall” from his 2005 release, Songs from the Eye of An Elephant, and inviting impassioned singer/songwriter and composer Luke Elliot to perform his beautiful singles“Let It Rain On Me” and “To Feel Your Love.” Luke’s EP, Provisions, will be released May 6th.
Actor and singer Constantine Maroulis was in attendance, as was Animal Years frontman, Mike McFadden. [Note: Sitting next to Constantine and hearing him sing as part of our audience chorus was pretty awesome]. Neither Ryan nor the audience wanted the night to end; so it didn’t. We all went upstairs, talked, laughed, and had a few drinks together. Ryan Star was right: We were all friends that night.
Download Ryan Star’s A N G E L S + A N I M A L S on iTunes.