It was a pleasure to speak to Ryan Sims on his sophomore album “My Side Of The Story”. A true country, rock and Americana sound that has you feeling every emotion in the song. We would like to thank Ryan for his time and wish him all the best and hope to see him on the road soon.
B Chord: Hey man, give us a little insight into your background and how you got into music?
Ryan Sims: At the age of 3, I had this overwhelming urge to play guitar. I’m not really sure where it came from. I did not have anyone in my family that was really a role model for it. It just seemed like that’s what I had to do. I didn’t want to be a firefighter or a cop or a superhero, rather I just wanted to play guitar and sing. It’s a calling man like anything else that God chooses for you. If I didn’t do it, I probably wouldn’t be alive. It’s my reason to be on this earth.
B Chord: You have your new album out “My Side of the Story.” Can you tell us a little bit about the project and the writing process? I know this is a very personal album and very dear to your heart.
Ryan Sims: It all happened out of a tragedy that turned into an opportunity. I was slated to go into the recording studio in April and had all of the songs picked. Some of the songs were ones that I had recorded in the past and didn’t feel like I had done them justice. Then I went through a breakup that was very traumatic with a person that I thought that I would be with forever. She had an affair with a so-called buddy of mine. This was two weeks before I went into the studio and my whole world got turned upside down. I wasn’t really sure how this was going to affect the recording process. What ended up happening was that I threw away all of the plans that I had of recording those songs that I had already written and just began writing my ass off by myself and my producers Justin Gray and Doug Green. We put together six brand new songs that did not exist in the world. So, that tragedy brought about my very best work thus far. Hopefully these songs can help someone else heal like it did for me.
B Chord: Where have you been playing if someone is looking to come out and see you?
Ryan Sims: Right now, I have been in Phoenix where I currently live and we have been agent shopping. So if you want to see me currently you can come to Phoenix. Starting in January, it looks like we will be starting a nationwide tour. Once I hit the road in 2018, I plan to be on the road for an undetermined amount of time. I used to live in Parkville, Maryland and played with my band EastonAshe. It was my first rock band that I toured with for many years and toured the east coast. We played at Ram’s Head, The Record Theatre in Towson and many other venues in the Maryland area.
B Chord: Who are some of your musical influences?
Ryan Sims: My four major influences were: John Cougar Mellencamp, Matchbox 20, James Taylor, Dave Matthews.
B Chord: In that album, I heard a lot of John Cougar Mellencamp in your music.
Ryan Sims: Jimmy Arnoff , who was John Mellencamp’s drummer was on the project as well. I think that is what you were hearing.
B Chord: “AmericanThings” is one of my favorite songs on the album. Tell us a little more about the writing process for this song.
Ryan Sims: That song is the only tune on the record that is written by the producers and myself. When we decided to do this project, we had a problem trying to define what the music was going to be. I think my biggest asset is that I write many different styles of music and it is also my biggest downfall because agents, producers, and music buyers want to be able to tell someone what they are getting. So given that rock and roll and country was primarily what I was writing but not necessarily either, we decided to go with Americana. That being said, I wanted to put a song on the record that really enveloped the whole American theme. So we started talking about what the song should be about. I absolutely love my country and we started talking about the best parts of the United States, so “American Things” came about. The song is just what I love about this country when I wake up every day and then the bridge is about how we are not quite ourselves right now, but it’s not over and we will bounce back because we are Americans and that’s what we do.
B Chord: I love that you are so open and honest about your story. What would you like to share with someone who may be going through the same?
Ryan Sims: I don’t think a writer has any choice but to be honest with their music because the only thing that will suffer if they are not is the music. I really didn’t have a choice than being open and honest with my story or my listeners would pick up on it in my music.
B Chord: “Tragedy” is another very touching song. Can you tell us what inspired the writing of that song?
Ryan Sims: That song is the only song on the record that was written prior to what I call “the situation.” That came about from a previous relationship that ended amicably and it was one of those things where we were absolutely in love with each other but it was just not the right situation. It was probably one of the only adult break ups that I ever had. The chorus just lends to the fact that we all have this idea about what love should be and what relationships should be and a lot of that comes from growing up watching Disney cartoons and life is not a Disney cartoon.
B Chord: You have an all star cast on this album. What was it like working with some of the best musicians on this project?
Ryan Sims: OMG, I got the opportunity to record with what would be considered a supergroup if any of these musicians got together outside of my project. Given that Mellencamp was one of my heroes, having his drummer who it can be safely said that Kenny Aronoff was integral to John Mellencamp’s sound, having him on my record gave me goose bumps. The original drummer, Vinnie Colaiuta who is most sought after drummer in the world, I was on cloud nine being able to get him and at the last minute he had to back out and my producer, Justin Gray said “Well, we got Kenny Aronoff instead, is that okay?” I think my head hit the ceiling when I jumped out of my shoes. Having Darrell Jones from the Rolling Stones….that came about because we were at the Gibson boutique in Beverly Hills and we were talking to the gentleman who ran that store and telling him that we needed a bass player and he said “you should get Darryl Jones” and I said yes we sure should just joking around. He said I’ll call him. I took a deep breath and tried not to show how excited I was. Darrell answered the phone and said he would do it at the “bro price” which is unbelievable. We got Jason “Slim” Gambill from Lady Antebellum via a mutual friend in Los Angeles and Kim Bullard who is Elton John’s keyboard player. I have been finished recording this EP for five months and I still don’t think I have grasped just how great this opportunity was that I just got to experience. Also, these guys were so into the project, they didn’t just lay down their tracks, they put in the time. I think that best idea that we had with these guys was not to give them direction, rather give them the tracks and let them do what they do. As we were getting these tracks back from each player, and listening to this body of work and what is was going to be, my skin hurt from all of the goose bumps that I had all the time.
B Chord: You are a true Inspiration and I am in your corner 100 percent.
Ryan Sims: Thank you so much!
B Chord: You are stranded on an island and you can take only one instrument with you. What would the instrument be and why?
Ryan Sims: That’s a no-brainer! It would have to be my guitar. I just got a new guitar a Collings D1 acoustic and this is my first big boy guitar. Collings is made in Austin, Texas and it is the most perfect instrument that’s ever been created on God’s great earth. Probably will be the last acoustic guitar that I will have to buy. I will probably buy others but because I want them.
Please do yourself a favor and download this album and catch Ryan when he is on tour. All links for Ryan Sims are below. Photo Credit: Mark Morgan
Website – http://www.ryansimsmusic.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RyanSimsBand