Dylan Ryche – “Daydreamer” - Album Review
Australian born guitarist Dylan Ryche’s (last name pronounced “rike”) second full-length studio album, Daydreamer makes the non-Aussie listener wonder, “What is in their water?” Similar to his fellow Australian acoustic guitar masters (Tommy Emmanuel and “Smokin’” Joe Robinson) his approach to writing can be summed up in three words – “melody, melody and melody.” In addition to his strong melodic sensibilities, Dylan Ryche has both impressive chops and superb compositional abilities. His versatility as an artist earned him first place at The Canadian Guitar Festival’s fingerstyle guitar competition in 2012, where he competed against some of the scenes most ambitious and aspiring musicians. What separates Dylan Ryche from the rest is his ability to write strong melodic lines in various musical contexts. For this reason, Daydreamer will appeal to all listeners and fingerstyle aficionados alike.
Daydreamer offers a broad range of styles, from ballads, happy upbeat rock songs, laid back toe tappers and even a song inspired by Celtic fiddle music. The album’s musical variety makes it fun and sometimes unexpected for the listener. When asked if the album had any underlying themes Ryche responded, “the very loose theme that runs through this album and really most of my music is that it’s just fun to make music. It’s a celebration of every time I have the opportunity to play and dream up a song - which I think is a tremendous thing.”
Track 2, “Playtime,” has funk roots, a bumping bass line, horn stabs to emulate a horn section and of course, a wicked melody. This song was my personal favourite on the album. Track 5, “Evie,” a song dedicated to his daughter, draws some inspiration from the band Yes; one of Dylan’s major influences. This offers the listener some rhythmic variation, as it’s in 5/4 time. Track 6, “The Swamp,” is a rhythmic, minor-key swamp blues song. It’s sure to get your head bobbing and foot tapping. Track 8, “Lyman’s Lament,” has the feel of a head banger’s fiddle tune. According to Dylan, this tune “probably took the most work and practice. It might not sound like it but I really had to work at that one.” Track 10, “Wishing Well,” showcases some of his theoretical abilities, as it is a counterpoint style composition. The album is capped off with an oldie but goodie, “Track 12, I Love My Life.” Ryche considers this song the ‘single’ from the album because “people have been really reacting to that song and anytime you can make someone smile or be a positive force in some way it is something to be proud of.”
Only 4 different guitar tunings were used throughout the album. 4 of the songs are in standard tuning (“The Music”, “Evie”, “Southbound Train” and “Wishing Well”) and another 4 are in Drop D tuning (“Song for Dax”, “The Swamp”, “Lyman's Lament” and “Magic Words”). The remaining 4 songs used altered or open tunings. Daydreamer has a bit more traditional fingerstyle guitar feel to it, than his previous album Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar because of the use of standard and Drop-D tunings.
(For a complete tuning list check out https://www.dylanryche.com/faq.)
As if his guitar skills aren’t impressive enough, Dylan Ryche recorded and produced Daydreamer himself in his home studio. Having his own studio meant that he could slowly work on the album whenever he had free time to record. “Having that flexibility is important when I have two awesome kids taking up the rest of my time.” His approach to recording is humble, consisting of a Audio-Technica AT4040 and AT 4041 ran stereo into a Focusrite Saffire PRO 40 interface. The mixing was done with Avid ProTools. Only one guitar was used to record the entire album, a Stonebridge OM32SM equipped with a DiMarzio The Black AngelTM passive magnetic soundhole pickup and strung with Elixir® coated and Wyres handmade guitar strings. Coming from someone who also owns a Stonebridge OM, what other guitar do you really need?
Dylan Ryche’s Home Studio where he recorded Daydreamer
The album cover is a departure from traditional acoustic fingerstyle guitar album covers, which typically shows the artist looking stoic with their guitar. Daydreamer draws inspiration from the classic Hugh Syme (Megadeth, Queensrÿche, Rush, Whitesnake) album covers from the 1980s and 1990s. The train represents the title of Track 7, “Southbound Train,” symbolic of the “train of thought” when writing music along with the journey the album takes the listener from one track, to the next, start to finish.
Dylan Ryche’s Daydreamer is truly a labor of love. His emphasis of melody, over technical ability is a refreshing change of pace. If you are interested in finding out more about Dylan Ryche, check him out at https://www.dylanryche.com/. He also offers one-on-one guitar lessons via Skype. If you want to hone your chops, or learn some new songwriting tricks; Dylan Ryche is your guy.
Gerald Donovan, Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notable Tracks: 1, 2, 7, 8, 10
Related Artists for fans of Dylan Ryche: Tommy Emmanuel, Smokin’ Joe Robinson, Calum Graham, Gareth Pearson, Adam Rafferty, Erick Turnbull, Trevor Gordon Hall, Robert Taylor, Ali Deniz Kardelen
Check out Dylan Ryche on iTunes.