Dancing on the Edge: Clear Double Vinyl LP
Ryan Davis & The Roadhouse Band

Dancing on the Edge: Clear Double Vinyl LP

SL-133
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Label: Tough Love
Release Date: 14th June

Ryan Davis debut 'Dancing on the Edge' is an instant classic for us, an album of endlessly quotable one liners, from the off he delivers 'you got a new tattoo of an old tattoo' and you're in, hooked. This is one of those lyrically rich records where you're picking a new favourite quip, witticism, observation and double entendre. The words are backed by a country folk that skips along and adds so match sticky flavour to the lyrical meat.

For those who dig: look, if you love David Berman, this is your record.

"At the frayed bottom-edge of Indiana – just a moderate bike ride north of Louisville, Kentucky – multi-instrumentalist, artist and songwriter Ryan Davis’’ Americana-noir soundwaves have been emanating for years in a myriad of forms. As driving force for the lauded State Champion, long-running member of Tropical Trash, administrator of the esoteric and excellent Cropped Out festival, and lone proprietor of the Sophomore Lounge label, Davis lays down his first proper ‘solo’ release with Dancing On The Edge, a rich, 2LP tapestry of tunes that absolutely glows over seven expansive cuts. It’s a pure collage of modernity and heritage.

After a period of introspection spent re-immersing himself in his drawing & painting practice, as well as his newfound delvings into instrumental music, Davis’ sea change was imminent. “I wasn't sure I would ever make another record of ‘song’ songs,” he says, “but last year I started writing again and it eventually took the shape of the record at hand. I worked painstakingly hard on the material. It felt virtually impossible to complete for a bulk of the time I spent trying to enter into it, but the process pulled me out of a strange place. I was eventually able to live inside of the songs enough to understand the world within them – to ultimately help shape them into what I understood them to be.” Indeed, there’s a load of inspiration captured in the grooves with Ryan’s unfiltered, folk-traditioned approach to poetic twists-of-tongue meeting head on with sublime instrumentation.

Recorded in early 2023 with help both in-studio and remotely from peers like Joan Shelley, Catherine Irwin (Freakwater), Will Lawrence (Felice Brothers, Gun Outfit, John Early), Jenny Rose (Giving Up), Christopher May (Mail the Horse), Elisabeth Fuchsia (Footings, Bonnie "Prince" Billy), and Aaron Rosenblum (Son of Earth, Sapat), 'Dancing on the Edge' draws backup perhaps primarily from Davis' tight-knit drinking buddies-cum-cast of collaborators in Equipment Pointed Ankh (records on Astral Editions, Bruit Direct Disques, Torn Light) – a five-headed hive-mind from which he drew impetus for his own foray into more abstract and improvisational terrain these past few years under the Roadhouse alias. The results herein are melancholic, gentle, minimal yet colorful in mood: a lilting highway accompaniment of crisp instrumentation and a relaxed, amiable approach to vocals with rhapsodic wordsmithery. Fans of the aforementioned artists as well as those of Souled American, David Berman, Kurt Vile and ‘Comes A Time’-era Neil should all easily find bounty.

While bare-boned and uncluttered in presentation, many of these pieces track over 6 minutes allowing a fair amount of expansiveness. Dancing On The Edge stares down into the navel of the American Experience underbelly with a fair amount of outward reach. Besides the Kosmische-synth and violin stabs reaching into a European element, stately organ swells build a musical bridge between 1969 Southern California and Felt’s latter era smooth moves, with layers of intelligent gesture taking this well beyond the realm of its archetypal indie troubadour/acoustic songwriter tag. Music and mint juleps never went down so well together."

“This is the sound of someone bearing a torch.” - Bill Callahan

"Davis’ talents are immense: vivid imagery and clever one-liners pulling epiphanies from the sacred, mundane, and profane." - Jon Blistein (Rolling Stone)

"On the latest and perhaps greatest notch in the storied songwriter’s belt, Ryan Davis is tipping his beer to a world in moral and constitutional decline." - Chad DePasquale (Aquarium Drunkard, Best of 2023)

"(His solo debut) Dancing on the Edge is singular and strong enough to put Davis in league with some of the very best American songwriters of the past and present. He's someone with the originality, wit and ambition to cut through the murk. Someone worth paying attention to." - Tyler Wilcox (Uncut)

His place at the edge may be perilous, precarious, and occasionally lonely, but it’s got one hell of a view." - Allison Hussey (Pitchfork, *7.9 /Best Rock Records of 2023 / Associate Editor Sam Sodomsky's #2 Best Album of 2023)

“A treasure trove of brilliant songwriting and winding, unhurried alt-americana.” - Joe Graham (Americana UK)

“Like freewheeling meditations on the human condition, Davis’ songs tackle big issues (existential angst, disappointment, loneliness, death) with sharp wit and gallows humor... I’ve been spinning Dancing on the Edge for weeks, and I still don’t feel like I’ve fully plumbed its depths. Much like the best work of David Berman (who once called Davis “one of the best lyricists going”), these songs will continue to reveal their layers for years to come.” - David Wilikofsky (Undercurrents)

* Best of 2023 / year-end list inclusions from: Aquarium Drunkard, CHIRP Radio, Free Form Freakout, Goner Records, Matador Records, Medium, Merge Records, Pitchfork, Repressed Records, Rolling Stone, Rosy Overdrive, Teenage Hate, Uproxx ++


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