Delivering Country Soul: An Interview With Ryan Kinder
We caught up with Ryan Kinder to chat about his new single, Stay, his upcoming album and getting to tour with rock legends.
With his latest single, Stay, Ryan Kinder has delivered one of the most powerful songs of the year. Originally written for a friend’s wedding by Kinder, Luke Sheets and Fred Wilhelm, the song has turned into something so much more.
On its face, the song is “a plea for a love interest to stay even though everything’s fallen down around you – a cry for something to hold onto,” explained Kinder. “It’s a prayer and a mantra, a plea to walk alongside me ‘cause everything’s gonna get better.”
Indeed the beauty of Stay stems from the listener’s ability to connect with the story, no matter what they’re going through. For Kinder, its been his relationship with music.
“Music is my first love, and it’s been my companion and saving grace for so long,” he said. “There’s ups and downs, good and bad, and this song has been one of the things to bring you back, and it makes you realize exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
New Album On The Way
Stay will be one of the songs featured on Kinder’s upcoming full length album, along with previously released tracks Leap of Faith and Alabama. Kinder is producing the album with longtime co-writer Sheets, who he counts as one of his best friends. “We just really get each other and have a great time recording together,” said Kinder.
The two are continuing to write new material for the album, as well as looking back over prior work. “Some of these songs are five, six, seven years old and they just seemed to fit exactly who I feel like I am musically right now,” said Kinder. “And we’re writing towards that as well – it’s kind of a rock and roll, soul and country feel the whole way through.”
For Kinder, the inspiration behind his songs comes from his own personal experiences and those of his friends that he’s witnessed firsthand. “Most of them come when it truly is something inside you, something true, something real, that comes through as you’re recording,” he said. It’s that realness, the truth behind the stories he tells, that draws an audience in.
While being on the road away from home and family can be tough, Kinder uses the time to improve his songwriting process. “There’s more yearning, there’s more pain, there’s more joy, there’s more highs and lows, and it only helps,” he explained.
A Summer With Legends
Kinder was just recently back at The Opry – his fifth time performing at the iconic venue. “It doesn’t matter how many times you play it, the gravity of the situation and being in that sacred circle, it’s never lost on anybody that has the opportunity to play,” said Kinder. “It’s unreal.”
Kinder has had his share of unreal moments this past year. He toured with rockers John Fogerty and ZZ Top this summer on the Blues and Bayous Tour. “I grew up listening to them and played their songs in cover bands, and still cover some of their songs today,” he said. “I got to talk to them almost every day and they would give me some kind words, some affirmation.” As both a fan and an artist, it was an amazing opportunity for Kinder. “I watched everyone’s show, every night. That’s one thing you don’t miss – you’re on the road with these living legends, you watch and learn every night.”
The very first concert Kinder attended was Eric Clapton at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham. “That was the moment I realized that’s what I wanna do, I want to be on stage playing guitar like that guy,” said Kinder. So it was a true bucket list moment when he had the chance to join Clapton for a performance at London’s Hyde Park this summer. “That was one of those full circle dream moments,” he said.
Remembering A Friend
When he’s not making music, you can usually find Kinder training for his next triathlon. His passion for these races started when a close friend who was an Apache pilot in the Army passed away. His friend, Kyle Wagley, used to participate in the Tour de Natchez Trace, a four day bike ride covering the 444 miles of Natchez Trace Parkway from Mississippi through Alabama to Tennessee. The year Wagley passed Kinder decided to take his place in the race and raise money in his honor. From there, Kinder decided to give triathlons a go. “I believe he’s there with me when I’m swimming, biking and running,” said Kinder. “It’s a way to remember him and feel like he’s still with me.”