Ryan States Releases First Album Recorded And Mixed On A Circus Train
The result is a record that pays homage to influences such as The Eagles, Ben Folds Five, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, and The Beatles, delivering a modern-rock meets adult alternative collection of earnest, honest pop-rock craftsmanship.
Though guitar driven, the songs also prominently feature piano and horns, taking songs from sparse to lush when the melody calls for it. But, the album also has a very 80s feel and sound to it, which is a direct goal of States, who wanted to make an out record that shined a light on a time when Out Music wasn't necessarily that 'out.'
"The 'out' lyrics paired with the 1980s sound fill a void for anyone who grew up at a time when gay music was very closeted," explains States.
States performs for 60,000 to 120,000 circus fans each week, while on the road forty-eight weeks per year, as the keyboard player for the Ringling Brothers' Circus Band. And he's performed over two thousand shows with the Ringling band, for millions of fans in sold out arenas from LA's Staples Center, to Chicago's United Center and Houston's Reliant Stadium. Not to mention that recordings of his playing have been heard on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, national parade broadcasts, DVDs, commercials, and more.
Now, with "Strange Town" he is not only unleashing his own music, but his own voice. Coming out of the closet, and proud of it, writing songs about his journey across the U.S., living in a train, and making his dream of playing music a reality despite any and all obstacles.
The youngest of eleven children, States was three years into a music degree at the University of North Texas, studying piano with Dr. Jack Roberts, when he ran off and joined the circus.
"'Strange Town' was recorded and mixed on the circus train between 2007 and 2009, in dozens of U.S. train yards and on dozens of train runs," States comments. "All of the Bill Leary sax sessions were recorded on the train in Lexington, Kentucky. All horns and guitars were recorded on the train on 'Never Forget.' The strings were recorded at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
"Most of the guitars and drums were recorded 'online.' The nearly two dozen musicians were made up of friends and strangers found via Google. Ten of the musicians have the circus on their resume, but you won't hear any polkas or music for aerialists."
States has had quite the journey to arrive at "Strange Town."
"Planet Earth" contains religious imagery of the Millennium, a time of peace preceding Judgement Day.
This is not a religious record, but "Planet Earth" reflects States' former faith. There are songs of hope, such as "I Will Find My Way" which was written a few months into States' two-year LDS mission.
There are also songs that tell a story of moving from middle America to the Big Apple less than a year after Sept 11th, which States did. "I'll Give You (What You Want)" is about getting hit on by married men. "Better When You're Older" is a coming out song. And, "I Won't Walk Away" is a pledge never to leave New York City.
"I've been touring five years with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus. We have a nine-piece band that provides musical accompaniment and sound effects for the circus. I play keyboards and samplers. I tour year-round across America's arenas. I live on a real old-fashioned circus train in a train yard near you. No joke," elaborates States. "I write and record music in my private train room. I also have a podcast (located at http://www.RyanStatesPodcast.com). I grew up being involved in club music, choral music and religious music."