Ryland Moranz Folk/Old Time/Bluegrass/Singer-Songwriter (EAGLE II) Canadian singer-songwriter Ryland Moranz is coming into his own in these strange times. An intimate and powerful songwriter, Ryland has stepped into the great beyond; empathetically ex-ploring his stories and the stories of others. Populated by real and imagined heroes and villains, the everyday and the extraordinary, the trials of life and matters of the heart, Ryland’s compositions span bygone days, the here and now, and what may yet be to come, both for himself and for us all. Continuing in the grand tradition of great storytellers, Ryland filters the spirits and genius of literary giants like Kurt Vonnegut and Ernest Hemingway through the compositional templates determined by Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, or Blaze Foley, whose tragic demise is recalled in the affecting There Ain’t New Songs, which, like the ragtime-style Run Rabbit Run, is one of many sublime highlights featured on Ryland’s beautiful January 2021 sophomore release, XO, 1945, which was nominated for con-temporary folk album of the year (2022) by the Canadian Folk Music Association.
Ryland spends considerable time traversing the highways and byways of Canada, the US, Aus-tralia, New Zealand and Europe, reflecting on personal growth and empathetically noting all around him, absorbing the images, stories, events, and experiences of the road as he goes. While the miles and time slip by Ryland reads, mainly history and classic literature, and of the new songs that have emerged from an inspired combination of the compelling pages of his book choices and all he sees through tour bus windows in pursuit of his art, Ryland says: “I feel less like a writer of fiction and more like a collector of sorts. It’s a romantic notion, but I like the idea of being a hopeful observer of the world and the people in it.
I think in a roundabout way that’s what the new record is about, and kind of why I called it ‘XO, 1945’ – kind regards from a past that’s different than you remember.” The album title, XO, 1945, holds a mirror to the title of Ryland’s 2016 solo debut, Hello New Old World, as if in continuation of his sanguine faith in humankind turning the corner. It’s a lyri-cally poetic, sonically earthy album of gritty roots rockers and moving, nostalgic balladry, pro-pelled by Ryland’s clawhammer banjo, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, mandola and harmonica, and intoned in a characterful voice recalling a young Steve Earle.