Ryan Asher - The Waiting Room
Record Label - Self-released
Release Date - October 20th, 2006
Ryan Asher has been in love with music since a very young age and grew up in a musical household that helped shape his views about such. Playing and practicing became an obsession for Asher and by the age of fourteen he was quite familiar the drums, guitar, and the piano. Asher took his love of with him to Muhlenberg College where, in between juggling Biology and Environmental Science classes, he got his start at restaurants, bars, and coffeehouses like many other musicians vying for the same dream. He eventually recorded an EP that was sold at his 150-plus shows around Leigh Valley, Philadelphia, and New York; eventually selling 1,000 copies of his self-released debut. Little do most people know, when Asher is not performing at venues that range from coffee houses to concert halls, he spends his days in a lab listening to Aqualung, Duncan Sheik, and Nick Drake while working as an environmental scientist.
Asher opens The Waiting Room strongly with the breath-takingly beautiful “All The Lights Switch On”, a perfect representation of the hushed style he employs throughout the album's ten tracks. Lyrically “All The Lights Switch On” is a strong indication of the type of expressive lyrics Asher utilizes throughout his album to capture emotions about love, second chances, and self-reflection accurately, but without the cheese factor. “Was I Too Late?” features bitingly sarcastic lyrics about regret and losing that special someone who promises they will always be around -- only to abandon. Asher tones down his traditional pop influences on this track and instead combines it with a heartfelt southern twang that oddly meshes well with his pop influence.
“In The End” opens with beautiful vocal harmonies provided by Asher and is the sort of heart-on-sleeve ballad guys across the country will be scrambling to add to their latest mix CD for the one that got away (provided they purchase this album). On “Gravity”, Asher takes his lyrical scope and instead of focusing on himself and an unspoken individual, he focuses solely on himself. “Unbreakable Love” is a heartbreakingly somber ballad that exudes frustration and sadness over not being able to find that perfect sort of love that only seems possible in date movies and television dramas. The use of piano really adds to the doleful ambiance that permeates every aspect of this track. “The Space” brightens up the album a bit with a more upbeat, shuffling tempo which ones again finds Mr. Asher reminiscing over a former flame that has since faded out. The duet parts between Asher and Rita Kaluzavitch during the song's chorus are beautiful, and their vocal styles compliment each other perfectly.
Ryan Asher’s The Waiting Room may not be the sort of album that revolutionizes the singer-songwriter genre, but it is a solid release and marks the beginnings of a very promising career for this young singer-songwriter. Asher’s songs are the sort of hushed balladry that pulls at the heartstrings of sensitive types everywhere and some of the songs would not be out of place on Grey’s Anatomy or any other similar television drama. This album may not become a staple in my listening rotation any time soon, but I can pretty much guarantee that any time I experience relationships woes (hey, we’ve all been there), The Waiting Room is one album that will grace my stereo.
Cool review, checking him out now. You should make more reference to his style in the first paragraph though, the only real clue I got about the music before the last line was the "coffee house" remark. Nitpicking though.