Back in the Spring, I featured an intriguing music video for a beautiful song from a new artist I was looking to hear more from. Well, it finally cane to pass that Ryan Amador has released a new album. Ever since seeing the music video for "Define Me", I have been eagerly anticipating the music, as I was so enamored of that single. And what is not to like, since Ryan is a handsome guy, has a nice voice that gives both warmth and emotional connection to the material, and is an out and proud young man. So I was really eager to hear what the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter was going to offer.
This summer, Amador released his eponymous album, an 11-song collection of Pop tunes that carry at their core a piece of Amador's heart. You can instantly feel the connection he has to each song, starting with the first cut. "Skylark" begins the musical journey with a haunting edge. I found this video of Amador singing "Skylark" live, as part of his 'home' series, in this case, the Bedroom series.
There is something about the right instrumentation that elevates any song. When Ryan sings with the piano and a cello, there is such a wonderful balance, I instantly feel as though I am being brought into the performance. This is certainly true on "On The Surface", which reminds us all that things are not always just the way the look from the outside. Sometimes, people are digging deep to look for the courage and strength to move forward. There is a lightness to "It's Possible/I Love You", a brightness that only love an bring. Amador showed a versatility with his vocals, offering an added depth. That is followed by a song in which Amador is joined by Kiah Victoria, a fellow New York-base singer/songwriter. Her work on the chorus of "Crystal Bed" is just lovely, allowing Amador some greater freedom on the verse. And once they are singing together, that is really quite beautiful. The next track begins with an acapella moment for Amador, who sounds like a syncopated dream. He is joined on "Redemption" by David Baloche. Together, their voices sound great over the tribal beat of the drums. There is something vital, even impatient about the drive for redemption. There is something lovely about the opening of "Instead", a piano and Amador taking a simple lead. Watch Ryan sing it live as part of his 'Living Room Session'.
There is beauty in the story, a man making his case for love. With "Ballad of the Young", we are greeted by the acoustic guitar for the first time, and once again Amador shows some nice depth, adding a little Folk to his Pop. There is something universal in his call to arms to the young. He is joined on the track with the voices, and the kazoos, of other young people, lending an anthemic feel, but also a nice touch of informality. This is followed by another song with a Folk sound, "Still Waiting". It is this search for the truth, both with life and with love, that makes like a wonderful journey. There is a wonderful flavor of hope I just feel brighter and brighter as the song goes on. "Pageant" is up next, and it has a big Rock sound, even in the acoustic state we have on the album. I love how Amador's voice grows with the music, giving the song some great organic moments, including in the breakdown at the end. I love the immediacy of "Madness". Here is a clip of the song from a performance at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan.
That leaves us with one more track, the one that stole my attention just a few months ago. "Define Me" is a beautifully introspective song, and teams Amador up with the very talented Jo Lampert. If you haven't seen or heard it yet, you can check out my thoughts in my prior post. The singers manage to find a wonderful balance with their performances, while still never losing their own perspectives.
Ryan Amador, left, and Jo Lampert, right.
As you might have been able to tell, I really like this album. The promise I saw in Ryan Amador with that first video has bloomed into something even greater than I expected. He has shown some nice versatility with his music, not resting on any one sound. His voice and songwriting held my attention, and in the end, I was eager to hear more from Ryan. 'Ryan Amador' can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and Bandcamp. To learn more about Ryan Amador, visit his official website. You can also 'like' him on Facebook, and 'follow' him on Twitter. If you enjoyed his music, I am sure he'd love to hear from you!