The years have passed gracefully since that winter night in 2005 at the old Lime Spider (now The Lockview) in Akron when a young singer/songwriter named Ryan Humbert opened for John Eddie on a twin bill that just happened to coincide with my birthday. I have been following the Green, Ohio native ever since … watching him persevere, grow as a writer, build a career, pay his dues, and climb the ladder. His new release, Sometimes The Game Plays You, is being released nationally on June 12th on the Rock Ridge Music label.
The new album’s fifteen tracks were recorded analog on a Studer 24-track tape machine in Nashville with members of the Ryan Humbert Band including longtime vocalist Emily Bates, Ben Evans on keyboards, Erin Vaughn on guitar, Jared Lees on bass, and Michael Houff on violin. A big change in the sound comes from the rhythm section addition of Nashville player Ken Coomer on drums and the extraordinary work of John Jackson with electric guitar, slide guitar, Dobro, banjo, and mandolin. Several other stellar Nashville musicians lent a hand including Brian Harrison, Audley Freed, Dave Roe, Jen Gunderman, and Dave Henry.
The new record shows a little of that Bruce Springsteen influence with the opening track “Waiting For The Lighting” that turns the adrenaline dial up. The rest of the album has a boatload of great singles that incorporate Humbert’s unique Americana pop-rock signature style including “Don’t Tell My Heart”, “Not To Me”, “Fool Me Twice”, and “Heartache Waiting”. “Since the last record, a handful of people close to me went through divorces” says Humbert. “Being a bystander and watching that has resulted in a darker, relationship-oriented thread throughout the album.” Humbert purposely puts the beautiful title track and the soft acoustic ballad “I Will Find My Own Way” on tracks 13 &14 to end on a more uplifting note. But it’s the inclusion of a bonus acoustic version of “Boulevard To Nowhere” which shows off Humbert’s strong chops and the record’s most powerful torch song. Longtime fans will recognize two songs that have been in the RHB repertoire and were finally recorded with “Incognito” co-written with Tracey Thomas and the very vulnerable “Tattoo” co-written with Tami Hinesh.
Ryan Humbert has many reasons to celebrate the moment with this latest release which hopefully catapults him well beyond his loyal Ohio following to listeners around the country. For more information visit Ryan Humbert’s web page at www.ryanhumbert.com and look for his new album at your local or online record stores.