A little over a year ago I was hosting the open mic at Bernice’s Tavern. I had been hosting and co-hosting it for the last ten years. One thing about your local open mic is the element of surprise. Once in a great while someone will walk in you’ve never heard or met and simply move you. Walsh is exactly that guy.
Usually an artist will woodshed for a time practicing songs they’ve written and get themselves to a point that they think they should go try them out on someone besides their Aunt Kate. Aunt Kate is totally cool but you can’t meet girls playing your guitar in Aunt Kate’s kitchen. Over time you will see the regular open mic players come in week after week, slowly getting better and like in a year or so they end up getting a band together or basically get good enough they leave the nest and eventually move on to regular gigs of their own. It’s really cool to see the progress.
Now I don’t know alot about Ryan other than he walked in with the shitiest god forsaken guitar I think I’ve ever seen. The whole back end of it was peeled off and was like a diving board. Seems this kid was busking his summers away between college semesters at UIC. Who needs internships when you can breath in the life of a city on the streets. I did the exact same thing when I was going there 15 years previous. This kid had a twinkle in his eye that only the Irish get, That’s all I can say.
The night was just right, It had slowed down enough that the few that were in the bar were listening attentively. Which if you didn’t know, is the best case scenario. Well everyone but one person who was too drunk to know that a young kid that played great and sang like Chet Baker was singing.
I was instantly taken aback. This kid must be like 23 and he plays not good, but very good. Sings not good, but very good and unique as well. I promptly got on the phone with my favorite sound engineer nerd “The Captain” Jaime Gartelos. I told him that there’s a kid in here that we need to record. I figured if his guitar is split down the back and he’s busking on the streets during school breaks he more than likely doesn’t have any recordings. Jaime asked me why I was doing this, and I replied “I have to, he’s a talent.” This kid is in his young 20’s. If I had money and time I’d manage him, be his booking agent and buy him a van to make the rounds in.
He was fluid in the songs he was singing and it would be an optimal time to capture them. I got his number and told him that we needed to record a few of his songs immediately. He said when? How’s tomorrow sound? It took some convincing, I imagine he thought I was nuts.
Here are the four songs we tracked at Jaime’s apartment. He walked in, I handed him my guitar and he knocked out four songs. I think he nailed the first take of each one, I believe we maybe did two takes of each song just in case. Perfect every time. You may want to turn this up a bit as these are unmastered tracks. Enjoy. Ryan will be opening for me this Saturday at Blue Island Beer Co. 7pm. FREE SHOW