|singer, songwriter, musician, comedian
Long Island Entertainment, March 2003
Written by John Blenn, who has been covering Long Island entertainers for over 20 years and is currently the General Manager of the Westbury Music Fair; this article appeared in Long Island Entertainment, March 2003.
Most artists hope that any phase of their career will yield timeless music
and a mark left in the sands of the music annals. Ed Ryan is on his fifth
go-round with creative immortality and he's getting better every night that
he steps up to the microphone. That's a mind-boggling proposition,
considering that Ed was a star in these parts years ago with Ed Ryan & The
Underdogs, a solid pop unit that used to open for, believe it or not, Debbie
Gibson. From there it's been the progressive sounds of Long Island Music
Festival champions Wide Awake (the 2nd year of the Fest), Ed Ryan the
stand-up comic, Rhino Caravan and, currently, Ed Ryan, musical troubadour.
Doing one of his patented open mic shows at the warm and utterly delightful Irish bar, Paddy's Loft, Ryan warmed up frozen mid-week night with a mixture of playful originals, stripped-down gems from every stage of his band work and some welcome covers. As the bar's regular Thursday night attraction, it's a can't-miss good time. As Ryan rolled through outstanding covers of Monkees and Beatles songs (one of which he brilliantly reworked into what sounded like a brand new song), he joked with the crowd and made the whole house feel at home. He also played some new songs of his own, including a rousing ditty called "The Drinking Song" which features the thought, "if you can't find me drunk, I'm out drinking somewhere." It rates high with many of his trademark stand-up comedy songs, like "You're Such A S*ithead" and "Ode To Gilligan's Isle." On moodier, more brooding stuff, like "Walking In Circles" from his Rhino Caravan days and "I'm Looking" from the Wide Awake catalogue, Ryan conjured up furious emotions and sang his heart, raising goosebumps with his soul-stirring intensity.
Most bands can't approach the sheer power of Ryan's soaring voice and commanding guitar play...fewer still can match the craftsmanship of his poetry and the clarity of his visions. On an Island where most people believe they're stars rehashing ideas and playing for 9 of their friends at a block party, Ed Ryan is a legitimate star. Record deals and fat checks don't validate greatness...the hair standing on the back of one's neck and a room booming their applause do. It's Paddy's Loft every Thursday with Ed Ryan, but the music at Madison Square Garden isn't any better.
You don't have to be Irish to stop by Paddy's Loft or enjoy Ed Ryan, you merely have to have a taste for sincerity, musicality and raw emotion. Be forewarned, though, you can't get out without laughing as well. Sound like a great night out? Yeah, I thought so too.
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