I confess to not knowing much about Ryan Kinder. I’d heard two or three of his tracks on my playlists and I was aware he had toured with some top artists like Tim McGraw and Zac Brown. I also recall that Billboard had named him their Artist to Watch 2017.
Opening for fellow Alabaman, Drake White on his UK tour, gave me the chance to witness the vocal talents and nimble acoustic guitar playing of Kinder for the first time. What immediately struck me was the confidence and stage presence of the guy. This isn’t some shy newbie, but an artist who knows his stuff and how to deliver it. Right from the off, wearing his Peaky Blinders cap and shouting How’s it going Brum?, this was his performance and we were going to like it and take part, support act or not.
How many supports are confident enough to have the crowd signing back to them in song one? This is exactly what he did with bluesy opener On My Way and the crowd warmed to him quickly through Alabama and Use Me Right – beautiful vocals which instantly led to me drawing comparisons with Chris Stapleton, the current master in this genre.
His set flashed by with Stay, his big heartfelt voice showcasing one of the first songs he wrote in Nashville, into Close – 34million downloads can’t be wrong! – and Blame (Kinder clearly likes one-word song titles).
Final song was the soulful and truly stunning Still Believe In Crazy Love which captivated the room as he abandoned the mic to sing unamplified to the 600 silent, riveted people gathered below. I urge you to listen to the Deconstructed Live version.
We’ll be seeing a lot more of Ryan Kinder I’m sure. He is the strongest live vocalist I’ve been to see since Chris Stapleton and his 10min EP The Road (disappointed he didn’t just call it ‘Road’) is a precursor to a new album currently in the making.
Review by Stuart Craig @bobafett26