Ryanhood,
The TVD First Date

“’I’ll show you which Beatles songs you need to know!’ my Uncle Phil declared, as he started thumbing through his extensive collection of vinyl to make me a cassette mixtape.”

“At thirteen years old, I was just starting to be able to discern John’s voice from Paul’s and George’s, I was just becoming acquainted with how electric and acoustic guitars sounded different, with how the low plunk of that Höfner bass and Ringo’s backbeat rounded out the sound of a rock band. And as my middle school ears listened to The Beatles’ tracks coming from my uncle’s turntable, I started to learn how music worked.

My uncle, my aunt, and my dad had been playing in bands together since before I was born. They all had instruments lying around, they wrote songs, they had vinyl collections with their names written onto the cardboard so they could share records back and forth with confidence that each favorite would eventually make it home. And they all loved The Beatles. But it was my uncle, with his old school hi-fi vinyl setup, who truly initiated me into their musical world.

Phil got all the wires set up, and began dubbing one song at a time directly from the turntable to the cassette deck. You could hear the tell-tale needle drop, the crackle, and those incredible musical colors that lifted themselves up from the grooves. “Dear Prudence” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face” were on there. So were “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and a few others (many of which Ryanhood has covered over the years).

And I realize now that the thing those songs all had in common was the groundbreaking guitar-work. My Uncle Phil is a lead guitar player and so The Beatles he wanted me to know were The Beatles who experimented with backwards guitar, wrote descending twin-lead harmonic melodies, or had Eric Clapton dropping in to give true meaning to the phrase, “wailing on the guitar.”

For the next year or two, my dad and I drove around listening and re-listening to that tape-from-vinyl, dissecting the songwriting, making up harmonies, and discussing exactly which clues were most convincing that Paul was indeed “dead.” I routinely found my way back to my aunt and uncle’s vinyl collection as often as I could to look at the album covers, read the credits, and try to understand more about the strange musical world that I felt was calling to me.

So now, 26 years later, when I think of putting out our first Ryanhood vinyl record, Under the Leaves, I can’t help but be grateful to my dad, my aunt—and especially my Uncle Phil—for the songs, the vinyl, the mixtape, and the incredible musical invitation to learn from the best how music works.”
Cameron Hood

Under The Leaves, the new release from Ryanhood arrives in stores on April 16, 2021—on vinyl.

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PHOTO: TAYLOR NOEL

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