Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reviews requested for 'A Star Above The Highway'

Hi all,

I'd humbly to request you all to consider writing a review for my Christmas album 'A Star Above The Highway' on either CDBABY or Amazon.  I really feel the album is my best overall work yet, because it showcases all the musical styles I love, features some great performances by some great friends of mine, and shares the subjects and ideas that are very dear to my heart.

In return, I want to offer one *FREE* MP3 download of any other album of mine that you'd like to have.   Please go to either one of the direct links below at CDBABY or Amazon and share your review.  Once the review is accepted and posted, please let me know by email at ryan@ryansheeler.com and also let me know which album of mine you would like to download (Skies and Shadows, Polk County Line, Light In The Rain, Letters From North of Town, or Prayers and Promises)

CDBABY:   http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ryansheeler6

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018X9OAW8

Iowa Music Project - Vote for Ryan

 I am in the running to have one of my songs featured in the upcoming Iowa Music Project compilation. 25 songs from Iowa artists will be featured on the album project to be released this summer, and winners will receive some great prizes. I would humbly ask for your vote. Help me spread the word, and vote here!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winter Dance Party 2016 - Clear Lake

Just got back from Clear Lake Iowa - my 2nd time at the Annual Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom.  I'm now part of the "February Family".  Another great time.  Some highlights:

  • Got autographs from The Valens Family, Tommy Allsup, The Coasters, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, and The Holy Rocka Rollaz
  • finally got to meet and talk to Bob Hale - original emcee and DJ of the 1959 show
  • attended a great lecture by Dr. Jonas Westover on the History of The Surf
  • met Sheryl and Sherry Davis - two sisters who are also musicologists from Ohio.  They are doing very unique project on The Surf Ballroom and the stories of the fans that come out every year, decade after decades.   Their project site "The Surf Speaks" is here:    http://www.thesurfspeaks.com/

Such a great time - I'm starting to look forward to next year!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

new blog testing

I'm in the process of starting my new blog with Blogger.   I may not move a lot of my old Wordpress stuff over, will mostly just start fresh.  Stay tuned!!

Inspired Performances recap 1/14/16

Our local library has started a concert series called "Inspired Performances" where each night two local artists share a set each of the music from an artist who inspired them.   I got to share the evening with Maia Hartwigsen - who performed music from Of Monsters and Men - a band I hadn't really heard of before and whom I learned to enjoy very much. It was really great to hear Maia re-imagine those tunes and share the stories of how that music had influenced her.

I shared a set of Dan Fogelberg's music.  As a songwriter, Dan's music was the biggest influence on me, both in his lyrics and his musicianship/composition.  He not only had great stories in his songs, but put them together with great melodies and interesting music.  Dan did things with his music and his lyrics that I hadn't ever heard done by other songwriters, and that always stuck with me over the years

It was a special night.  I so enjoyed sharing songs and stories with everyone. Our good friend Jim Coppoc ran sound and made us sound so very good.  I'd have to count it as the most special solo gig I've ever done. Special thanks to Mary Logsdon for hosting us, and to Elizabeth Zimmerman for coming up with the great idea for the series (note:  Elizabeth kicked off the series herself last October with a great set of jazz piano/vocal renditions of Beatles tunes.)    It is events like this that make me very happy and humbled to be in a local music scene such as Ames' - with people who really support the music and each other.

Here is my set list with clips to listen to. I also included the album info and year if you want to reminisce or look them up. As an added bonus I included ‘Scarecrow’s Dream’ which was in my set list but I omitted due to time.

1. Crow (from Captured Angel, 1976) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS8BaYxkRbc

2. Old Tennessee (from Captured Angel, 1976) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhAxBmyWu2c

3. Believe In Me (from Windows and Walls, 1984 - this version live from St Louis in 1991) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8DuDXlZ3nU&

4. Scarecrow’s Dream (from Nether Lands, 1977) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K29ZJ4XzzMQ

5. Sweet Magnolia and the Traveling Salesman (from Windows and Walls, 1984) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnuAwMWM5FY

6. Bones In The Sky (The Wild Places, 1990) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P4VnBYAvS4

7. Same Old Lang Syne (The Innocent Age, 1981) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfAxWtcfDUk

8. The Colors Of Eve (Love In Time, 2009) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g6M5hxdJls

9. Forefathers (The Wild Places, 1991) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYbgC2vW9dk

10. Leader Of The Band (The Innocent Age, 1981) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQmkoMZyvOQ&

11. There's A Place In The World For A Gambler (Souvenirs, 1975) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yUrDo3WMs8

About The Song: "Iowa Country Christmas"

About The Song...."Iowa Country Christmas" - the last of 4 new original songs on my Christmas album. This song has been a sleeper "hit" of sorts . The song originally came about because I had in mind a different cover for this slot on the album, but it turned out I couldn't use the song I wanted to. So I set out to create a Christmas song that had some of my favorite influences and story settings in it. Growing up in the upper Midwest and always having one foot in the rural small-town culture, and the other in a city environment; I always wanted to have a song that remembered the special times of a family Christmas.

I want to thank a few people in particular. Clark Bishop - for the great drum feel that nailed the vibe perfectly. Wayne Stewart- for the sweet Nashville/Floyd Cramer-esque piano. And Desi Martinez for the backing vocals

About the song... "Another Story"

About the song... "Another Story" another one of the 4 new songs from my Christmas album. This is sort of a "Chasing Heaven" commentary song but for Christmas how so many of us miss the real Christmas, and tend to get caught up in the commercialization of the holiday. There is another story - and it's waiting for you!.

After all these years I still like to rock out every once and a while, so this one is a musical nod to some of the stuff I listened to like VH, Boston etc. And by turning the guitar riff into a piano riff, it ended up sounding a bit like Billy Joel's mid-period rock-ier stuff. A fun song and unique twist on the modern Christmas song.

With Wayne Stewart, Christopher Akers, Nick Gallus and Clark Bishop.

About The Song: "A Star Above The Highway"

About the song.... this is the title track and one of 4 new originals on my Christmas album. My friend Chris Akers (who sings the background vocals here...) says it's one his very favorite songs of mine. In my life I've had several friends who were truck drivers - and I always wondered and thought about how they felt around Christmas time as they tried to work their schedules around the season and being with their families. This song wasn't even planned for the project - I wrote in the middle of planning for it, and it ended up being a centerpiece for the project. Enjoy!

With Wayne Stewart, Christopher Akers, Clark Bishop and Nick Gallus

About The Song: "We Are Waiting"

A walk through the new original songs on my Christmas album. About the song: "We Are Waiting" - wanted to share about each of the new original songs on my Christmas album. A lot of Christmas songs are about remembering Jesus's birth and that's good. I wanted to write an Advent song that looked forward to the joyous time that we believe when He will come again and join in celebrating that. Many thanks to Todd Teske for the lyric wordsmithing, and to Wayne Stewart and Chris Akers for the great arrangement.

New song "Mercy Has Come" - Wayne Stewart

new song from Wayne Stewart with Emi Stewart and yours truly on the electric guitar goodness. great song!

Mercy Has Come--lyric video from Wayne Stewart on Vimeo.

New Christmas CD "A Star Above The Highway"

December 7th 2015 - New CD Release "A Star Above The Highway"


I'd like to announce the release of my new Christmas CD "A Star Above The Highway".   There were a lot of hurdles big and small to cross, and even a few short months ago I wasn't sure if I was going to get this done. But here it is!   14 tracks including 4 brand-new original songs including the title track, "We Are Waiting", "Another Story" and "Iowa Country Christmas".   This CD has a very wide range of styles from rock, pop, country, blues, jazz, Americana/roots, and Gospel music.   I am very happy with this project and I hope you will be too.
The CD is available for purchase or download at CDBABY, Amazon, Apple ITunes, Google Play, Spotify and other online retailers. In the Central Iowa area it is available at the following stores:
Ames Vinyl Cafe
303 Kellogg Ave, Ames IA 50010
Iowa Music Store
300 Main Street, Ames IA 50010
ZZZ Records - Des Moines
2200 Ingersoll, Des Moines IA 50312

CD RELEASE CONCERT: https://www.facebook.com/events/583094968506475/
Saturday, December 12th 2015 at Christ Community Church - during The Perfect Gift
with special guests: harpists Rachel Greene and Katie Quandt
Saturday, December 12th 2015; 2PM-3:30PM
During “The Perfect Gift” - in Gather 1 venue
Christ Community Church
5501 George Washington Carver, Ames IA 50010

Iowa Music Showcase, Epsiode 13: Iowa Folk and Acoustic Music

Hey all,
I'm thankful to be featured in this installment with some other great Iowa songwriters. I put on my folk/roots hat for this one, on a turn for a song from back in my repertoire that I haven't pulled out for a long time -- 'Johnny Fire'


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