Industry Feature Friday: Ryan Davidson (Guitarist/Composer)
Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
We have a one of a kind guitarist coming in hot this Friday! Ryan Davidson! I met him in the winter of 2018 at the Country Music Alberta Awards in Red Deer. I will be honest, I didn't 100% know who he was at the time, but I actually think I just walked up to him and introduced myself...because he looked important!!
Obviously, he was really nice. And here we are! Four-ish years later! Turns out he IS a BIG DEAL! Very important!
Based in Edmonton, AB., Ryan is a multiple award winning and nominated Canadian freelance guitarist and composer who has performed & recorded professionally for over 25 years! Guitarist/Bandleader for Gord Bamford and proud member of Vinyl Hampton and Scotch & Starlight too.
Thank you for joining me for Industry Feature Friday this week, Ryan!
"Ryan is a Canadian freelance guitarist who has performed and recorded professionally for 27 years. He holds a Master of Music in Jazz Studies Performance from the University of North Texas. In 2010, Ryan recorded "LAB 09" with the One O'clock Lab Band for which the group received 2 Grammy Nominations. With the One O'clock, he shared the stage with jazz legends Dave Brubeck, James Carter and Eddie Gomez.
In the country/rock music world, he has performed and/or recorded with Gord Bamford, Dallas Smith, Brett Kissel, Dean Brody, Chad Brownlee, Jason McCoy, Jojo Mason, Meghan Patrick, Tyler Connolly (Theory Of A Deadman), Simon Cowell’s Il Divo and many more.
He has been nominated 9 times for CCMA “Guitarist of the Year” and has won the award twice. In addition, he could be heard on 2 Juno nominated country records in 2014. Gord Bamford’s “Country Junkie” and Brett Kissel’s “Started With A Song” were both nominated for “Country Album Of The Year”." - ryandavidsonguitar.com
"His guitar playing can be heard on many records as well as on top 10 Canadian country radio stations five times last year. He has also played for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas five times and was seen on ESPN’s coverage for the buckle presentations for the NFR. Recently, Ryan also played the 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver." - YEG Live
I have had the honour (and I mean honour!) of having him on a couple of themed episodes of "Studio B Podcast" and as a guest on a show I did at a previous radio position called, 'Made in Alberta.' He's a great conversationalist too!
Now, I've seen Ryan perform a few times (as a guitarist) and let me tell you - it's ELECTRIC! Ryan really knows how to ignite emotion and bring life to steel and wood! Whether he's delivering sweet-sounding solos as lead guitar for a star studded Canadian country artist, or taking to the stage for a performance with his own incredible songs and compositions, he has musical ingenuity that's allowed him to be recognized (and deservedly so) as one of Canada's best guitarists.
Irrefutably talented, Ryan Davidson is someone you NEED to know more about!
Get to know more about Ryan Here:
Sarah Scott (SS): This isn't your first time on a Studio B Platform, but this is your first time as a guest that we get to know better! Although I have been very fortunate to get to know your very extensive and exciting musical background, others may not know as much. So, tell us more about yourself! What drew you to the music industry? How did you get to where you are today?
Ryan Davidson (RD): For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a guitarist. When I was eight years old, I started taking classical guitar lessons. My influences ranged from classical music to 50's rock and country.
By the time I had gotten to high school, I was determined to go to MacEwan University to become a jazz guitarist. Part of the way through, I dropped out due to lack of funds. I got a gig performing country music and thought I would save up some money to return to school.
Eight more years of extensive road work passed as a freelance country guitarist when I decided to go back to university. After six more years of attending St. Francis Xavier University and University of North Texas, I received a Masters Degree in Jazz Guitar Performance and moved back to Canada in 2010. In 2012, I was asked to perform full time with Gord Bamford where I continue to do so today.
SS: Kind of a basic question, but I haven't asked it in a very long time. What do you like the most about your life as a musician and what do you dislike the most about living the musician life?
RD: I like that I can do something I sincerely love and that I am passionate about and hopefully in the process, bring people at our shows some joy and happiness.
The downside of the musician life is missing family events, birthdays and the people I love to pursue music.
SS: As a musician, you're away from home a lot - which can be tough. How do you handle traveling and being away from your home for an extended time period while you're on tour? And how do you prepare for a tour as a musician?
RD: For many years, I was away quite a lot. Six to eight weeks was typical. These days, a "tour" may only be a two to four weeks or two to three days a week. Handling the time away requires not stressing about the things that are out of your control and remembering that you are fortunate beyond belief to do this in your life.
When there is a long stretch of dates approaching, I make sure to sleep well, drink 3 liters of water a day, eat well and get to the gym.
SS: What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
RD: Work hard at your craft. Really. Hard.
While things like social media and marketing are very important these days, I'm a big believer in what one of my teachers told me, "Be so good that they can't ignore you".
Doing that requires constant practice and self discipline. I don't think I play at a level where I feel like I'm "good", I may never be. The point is to keep trying.
Success comes from self improvement and innovation, not the size of the crowd, your accolades or popularity.
SS: Are there any musicians who inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them that you have taken into your career?
RD: There are many musicians who have inspired me (including the ones I play with regularly). Outside of that there is a wide spread of musicians that have made a big difference. Danny Gatton, Jimmy Olander, Jonathan Kreisberg, Ariel Posen, Chopin, Mozart, Bach to name a few.
All of the musicians that inspire me have a fiery pursuit of innovation in their musicianship, work hard and have an authentic, honest sound.
SS: Bonus question because I love asking this question: What's your favourite song to perform and why?
RD: It's hard to pick just one. These days, I have been revisiting a song I wrote called "Tom Ripley" off of the "Vanished" album.
Get to know more about Ryan and follow him here: