Saturday, 9 November 2013

Discovery: Ryan Keen - Old Scars

Ryan Keen isn't new to the singer-songwriter game. He played SXSW in 2011, which is great to have on your CV. Through this, Keen was signed to a management company, giving him the opportunity to succeed. He supported Ed Sheeran towards the end of that year (after being put through surgery on his wrist), and then played behind Plan B, before his own roller coaster ride as a leading act. Keen released his debut album Room For Light back in September of this year, with a solo tour backing the album which has seen Keen travel the UK on his own accord, including a stop in Stoke (to which our very own Matthew Clewley went to and caught up with Keen.)

It's always interesting to read backgrounds, and dive deep into artistic history with singer-songwriters. They always seem to have something to tell, and they use the power of an acoustic guitar and song to do this. Keen is no different, his recordings are very sombre and bitter. "Old Scars" represents the feeling of melancholy, with Keen's typical skilful guitar playing and jazz-like accompaniment from minimal percussion and bass. It's his inner ability to express feelings that really puts "Old Scars" on the listeners mind. The production isn't the best, it actually sounds too over the top and finely smoothed over rather than crisp and raw, how I like my folk-based songs to be. But the emotion, and pure energy coming out of Keen's mouth outweighs the minor faults. Such as the bridge: "When I felt her heart, it's when I felt at home, when I felt her heart, I never felt alone." Keen is easily one of the better singer-songwriters to be exposed in 2013, and with a little faith, he'll be important in 2014 too.
~Eddie Gibson