In 2018, Ryan Clair’s Less Traveled Road LP introduced us to his impressive, gritty, southern rock chops with an absolute barn burner of a record. The year 2019 found Ryan adjusting course in more ways that one: He made the westward move to the scenic Pacific Northwest where, inspired by his new surroundings, he penned a starkly minimal sophomore album.
Among The Pines is a muscial journey of the sould with Clair positioned as the narrator on a solo trek through the mountains. Intentionally never reaching the sheer rock bigness his previous album had, he instead steers into an al-country simplicity that flows from song to song.
This rustic approach makes the album a very easy listen that keeps the richness of his baritone vocals and the weathered wisdom of his lyrics front and center. The EP kicks off with the sonic instrumental “The Trail Head” which sets the mood for tracks that flow seamlessly one into the other with the sound of a howling wind or a crackling fire.
By the time you get to “This Old Coat” – a song that aches with a longing for eternal renewal – you realize that you’ve been led by the hand into that ache as well.