Interview: Ryan Kinder talks playing BST Hyde Park, his song Alabama, Tornadoes, his old band Hagg Rodgers and more

Words can’t describe how excited I was when Ryan Kinder was announced to be playing BST Hyde Park supporting Eric Clapton. Being a fan for about a year, I was thrilled that fans beyond country and a more Blues focused crowd were going to experience his music and live show as Kinder’s music certainly has a very strong Blues/Rock style to it that needs to be heard.

As stated in our review here, Ryan’s set went down a storm, gathering an impressively large crowd especially when gates had been open for a just matter of minutes.

We caught up with Ryan Kinder after his set. Still on a high from a ‘hard to beat’ set, It was so wonderful to talk about the experience from both perspectives whilst it was still very fresh in our minds.

Ryan Kinder has not only become one of my favourite artists to listen to and see live but also one of my favourite artists to interview. With Ryan, it is more like a friendly catch up – a very kind and approachable man who is full of interesting facts, I could have spoken with him all day.

If you haven’t heard his music yet then please check him out and if you haven’t seen him live yet, then what are you waiting for? Go now, it is worth it, I promise.

I hope you enjoy!

Hi Ryan – How are you?

I am good thanks, good to see you again.

Good to see you again too. I just saw your set on The Barclaycard Stage, it was of course amazing, how was it for you?

Fantastic, we had so much fun – I didn’t expect so many people to be there.

That was lovely because you were first on, gates had just opened and when I arrived at the stage, it wasn’t that crowded at that point but as soon as you played, the bus loads came flooding in.

Woosh!

I am so glad you are on this bill and you fit it perfectly with other Blues styled artists such as Steve Winwood and of course Eric Clapton.

Bluest, rootsy country.

I assume you’re a Clapton fan?

First concert I ever went to was Eric Clapton.

Nice!

I was 13/14 years old and that was the moment I knew I wanted to play. It was THE exact moment that I knew what I wanted to do.

This is a pretty day special then, have you met him?

I haven’t

Well I hope you do today.

How was C2C because last time I saw you was just before C2C started, the day before in fact.

It was fantastic. The people there were such zealous music fans, they’re so respectful at every set. If you’re playing, they are quiet and they are there to listen to the music and watch and be attentive which is awesome.

You also played in Glasgow last time – How did the Scottish and British fans differ ?

It was great, we played the middle stage at C2C and it was a lot of fun, they are a rowdier crowd.

Tell us about the song Alabama which you played on stage today.

So it started off as a love song towards my wife. I had moved to Nashville before she did and I knew what I wanted to do since I was about fifteen but I went to school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to get a degree first. Before I moved to Nashville a tornado came through Tuscaloosa and demolished everything and it was a “Come to Jesus” moment, a moment I realised that life is too short so I moved to Nashville three days after that tornado. It started out as the idea of me being in Tennessee and she is tearing my heart out in Tennessee. The song kind of took a left turn in songwriting into a song that was more of a heartbreak song which is absolutely nothing to do with my relationship with my wife but the genesis of the song was, she was tearing my heart out in Tennessee because she was still in Alabama. So it turned into a heartbreak song but started out as a lovesick song.

How is living in Nashville in comparison? Do Tornadoes hit there often?

Not as bad as some places in the south but they do hit Tennessee sometimes. We had one a couple of years ago and it didn’t do as much damage as Tuscaloosa. They classify Tornadoes as F1, F2, F3,F4 and F5 and F5 is absolute demolition, they call it the “Finger of God”, so when you look at a GPS image, it is like somebody has cleaned away the entire town. It was an F4 in Tuscaloosa, it was really bad and was a life changing moment that led me to where I should have been in the first place.

Yes, very true, a very bittersweet moment.

You have been on the road with ZZ Top and John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) how was that?

Yes, it was a life changing moment, absolutely life changing, they are both my heroes. I got to spend a lot of time with John (Fogerty) and a lot of time with Billy (Gibbons) and they gave me some great advice, took me under their wing and told me some great stuff.  They were just friendly, they were understanding that I was on my way up and knew that what they had been through, they could teach a young kid like me a little bit of how to do it and what not to do. It was a very blissful moment being able to gain wisdom from my highest heroes.

I bet they’ve got some stories too huh?

That I can’t tell you hahahahaha.

I wish that we got half of the tours in this country that you get in the US.

I have been twitter stalking you haha – Tell us about your band Hagg Rodgers?

Oh! Hahahahaha you are the first person to EVER bring that up, I love it!

Really? Haha

So my brother and I started playing music a long time ago and one of my brothers best friends Gabe Long and he also started playing together so we started a trio.  I think one of us was a little drunk and we trying to think of a band name and somebody said (drunken styled voice) “Hagg Rogers” and we were like “That’s great, let’s go” and it stayed Hagg Rodgers for a long time.

Was it similar music to what you play now?

We did a bunch of covers and we were playing in fraternities, sororities, bars and all sorts of places.

Last time we spoke, you didn’t have a date on an album just yet, so any news on an album?

So we have a bunch of songs that we are ready to record. I think we are going to start releasing p song by song and then slowly build it into an album.

Ok cool. Tell us about the song Stay, will that likely be on the album?

Yes. That is going to be the next single and we are going to put that out pretty soon. That was a straight up love song to my wife.

Aww lovely.

Any plans to come back to the UK?

Yes! As soon as possible

Oh good.

We don’t have anything announced yet but we are working on it. As soon as possible and as much as possible.

Yay. I am so pleased because I saw your set at C2C but had to miss the end due to scheduling but I happily caught the entire set here at BST but I still haven’t seen you perform Still Believe In Crazy Love.

Really? No, we didn’t play it here, I figured it was one of the ones that probably wouldn’t fit the crowd that are coming to listen here.

I agree actually.

I wanted to push the Blues/Rock stuff.

I completely agree and figured as much.

I hope you play Still Believe In Crazy Love next time.

Yes, yes I will.

and your cover of Fortunate Son.

Yes, so Fogerty actually saw that while we were on tour together and said “You did a good job, I was proud of you”

Wow, that must have felt amazing?

Yes, he is an absolute sweetheart.

Thank you so much for chatting today.

Thank you, good to see you again.

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