B. Ryan B.: Cleveland-based Americana singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist
Short bio (175 words)
“B. Ryan B.” — “B” for short — was inspired by Cleveland’s top-notch local performers. They drew him into a calling, not merely to perform music, but to use music as a conduit to share human connections.
Borrowed and improvised instruments got B adopted by The FlipSide. Realizing his gift, he then grew to become the go-to bassist for multiple northern-Ohio bands concurrently, and a song leader at medium and large worship services.
As his country became a mess of “divided states,” B refocused his energy on a second solo CD, “Understanding.” Released in 2019, it offers quaint ideas to tone down the rhetoric that separates people who were once “united,” to help us again arise as a social and moral example for the world.
While still performing regularly with his first band, B continues to live out his calling, connecting to and among others, through music.
Medium bio (300 words)
Sure, you saw his hit 2015 music video “Cleveland is Your Land,” touting his pride in the city, while pleading for peace and unity among his fellow citizens. Did you know he released a second solo album in 2019, whose theme strives to unite our entire nation?
“B. Ryan B.” — “B” for short — found spectacular big-stage concerts no more enthralling than top-notch local performers on coffeehouse stages that he attended in the 1990’s. Why? Better parking, more seating legroom, and more reasonable admissions costs without ticketing fees? More than that: Those exemplary performances became a calling, not merely to perform music, but to use music as a conduit to share human connections, to foster peace and joy.
Armed with only a used 5-gallon water jug played upside-down like a hand drum, and a bass guitar that he borrowed from his brother-in-law, B. Ryan B’s musical career had begun.
In 2004, B was “adopted” by The FlipSide. Over the next 15 years, he became the go-to bassist for Will Cheshier, Tom Gorman, Diana Chittester, Blame Willie, The Grindstone Jazz Ensemble, and Acoustic Joyride; all while leading song in worship, including at The Fest.
B produced his first solo album, “Transient” in 2014, including that hometown anthem “Cleveland is Your Land.” It got airplay on a few local stations, including a feature on the Q104 Morning Show, and an article on WMJI’s blog.
His second solo CD, “Understanding,” released in 2019, offers a quaint ideas to tone down rhetoric; whether bickering over craft beers, or about changes at the office, or about bad mortgages and relationships, or even at protests.
While still performing regularly with his first band, The FlipSide, B continues to live out his calling, connecting to and among others, through music.
Long bio (600 words)
That guy from the folky “Cleveland is Your Land” music video, which appealed in over 27,000 YouTube views for civic peace and unity in our own backyard, has carried his message to the broader, divided nation via a second album.
“B. Ryan B.” — his family and friends have called him “B. Ryan” or just “B” since high school — grew up watching spectacular concerts on big stages and on TV. He noticed they all lacked the power of more intimate venues, where real people, sitting in more comfortable seats, make real connections with each other.
In the 1990’s, B discovered and followed more and more of the best local northern Ohio talent, for his own personal enjoyment: people like Tom Gorman, Anne E. DeChant, and Brian Henke. The next decade, he expanded his outlook to include regional traveling performers, who he met through Folk Alliance. His admiration of those artists became a formal study. It became a calling, not merely to perform music, but to use music as a conduit to share human connections, to foster peace and joy.
B. Ryan B. sought out more active participation in the music community. A used 5-gallon water jug played upside-down like a hand drum, and a bass guitar that he borrowed from his brother-in-law, were his tickets in.
In 2004, B started performing with The FlipSide, a local supergroup of Cleveland-area singer-songwriters. Over the next few years, he gigged regularly with Cleveland songwriter Will Cheshier, Bowling Green songwriter Tom Gorman, later Cleveland sensation Diana Chittester, bar covers band Blame Willie, straight-up jazz act The Grindstone Jazz Ensemble, and Woodstock tribute act Acoustic Joyride. He also sat in occasionally with other mentors. Meantime, he “give back” by leading hymns and psalms in worship services, cantoring multiple years at The Fest.
While co-producing The FlipSide’s second CD, B produced his first solo album, “Transient” in 2014, including hometown anthem “Cleveland is Your Land.” It got airplay on a few local stations, including a feature on the Q104 Morning Show, and an article on WMJI’s blog.
His second solo CD, “Understanding,” shipped in May 2019 to 200 Americana radio stations nationwide, towing a series of quaint ideas to tone down rhetoric in a variety of situations; from bickering over craft beers, to rolling with the changes at the office, to walking away from bad mortgages and relationships, to the limited efficacy of political protests.
“The title track of this album is actually connected to that Cleveland music video. Both were my responses to the dysfunctional partisan reactions to crises in the U.S., and a specific crisis in our very own city. We haven’t — I haven’t,” he emphasizes, “done enough to bring peaceful solutions. These songs are my contribution to the conversation.”
The project was almost cancelled when B’s recording engineer, Paul Hamann, passed away. B credits legendary Cleveland blues singer Becky Boyd, also recording at Hamann’s Suma studio at the time, for saving B’s project. She connected him with Jim Wall of Parma Heights’ Blue Buddha Studios. Wall not only stepped heroically into Hamann’s legendary shoes to engineer the album, but also played drums throughout it, bringing the bluesy three middle tracks to life.
An expansion from B’s simpler first album, the musical feel in “Understanding” flows from Folk to Gypsy Jazz to Blues Rock, and back again, bolstered by contributions from seasoned northern Ohio talents Bill Lestock (violin) and Tom Gorman (guitar), as well as up-and-comer Jarred Goldweber (harmonica).
While still performing regularly with his first band, The FlipSide, B continues to live out that calling, performing at any venue throughout the region where he can connect to others, and foster others’ connections among each other, through music.