I consider myself to be a very lucky individual. The first ever gig that I promoted through this blog was a duo gig with Ryan and Craig Irving. Having been transfixed and mesmerised by his passionate display at the finals of the Young Trad in 2016 I was filled with that same amount of glee and awe when his debut album was released to the world last year. Packed full of his own compositions and his take on some of our traditions most beautiful but forgotten melodies it really delivers a beautifully compiled and put-together record. Accompanied by James Ross on Piano and Leo Forde on Guitar this record is probably one of the most authentic and real recordings of traditional music to be released in the last few years. I really like that the full range of Ryans instrumental ability is demonstrated throughout the record. John MacColl's Farewell / Willie's Auld Trews / Harris Dance is perhaps the perfect track to summarise the whole record in that it shows the versatility of style and range of emotions that Ryan can produce through his fiddle. The dark opening of John MacColl's Farewell contrasts perfectly with the joyous jaunt of Harris Dance to establish a whirlwind of emotions in just one track. Another thing I really love about this record is that it was made the way I believe records should be, recorded in one take (most of the time) with the accompanists reacting to dynamics and style in real time whilst producing an incredible sound and performance as close to live music as it can get. What Pain I've Endured Since Last Year / Caber Feidh / To Chase The Goats Off The Rocks will have you toe tapping until your feet are in knots and constantly hitting that rewind button. Without doubt my favourite track on the album is Traditional Reel / Smilin' Katie / The White Houses of Shieldaig. It brings the higher tempo of the album to a close very elegantly and ensures that you have got the volume set at full blast. The album comes to a fitting close with some trade mark Ryan Young. Ryan has become known for his re-imagining and interpretation of tunes that are commonly played at a much faster pace and brings them alive with intellectual improvisation and powerful devotion to the importance of sound. I really like that these tracks The Highland Laddie and The Irish Girl were saved until the end and finished off the recording almost at a hush.
Don't just take my word for it though, get out and see Ryan Live. There is a good chance he'll be somewhere near you soon!