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January 16, 2012

Band to Watch: Ryan Stively

by @thoughtontracks

When Port O’Brien dropped the anchor on their 6-year career many loyalists, like myself, felt like the air had been slowly released from of our rafts.  I floated along with this band through three separate releases and then suddenly the excursion was cut short.  Feeling like a child that just jumped into the deep end for the first time, I did everything in my power to keep my fingers gripped to the wall that Port O’Brien had built for me. Revisiting albums The Wind and the Swell, All We Could Do Was Sing and Threadbare offered me a chance to keep my head above water while I treaded, reaching for more. While one ship had docked, my SOS was answered and two separate rescue buoys kept me afloat.

I was satisfied after embracing, founding member Van Pierszalowski’s release Out in the Light. He goes by moniker WATERS and the themes that Port O’Brien drew out remained intact. After consuming and covering the release I felt pleased that an extension of Port O’Brien was still available to me. While this proved to be the ultimate void filler, I discovered an additional spot on the extension of Port O’Brien’s dock with Ryan Stively’s release Soft Kingdom.

Stively now captains his own ship. He uses Soft Kingdom to expand upon the folk side of his Port O’Brien past.  Stively ropes in the outstanding member of Port O’Brien, Cambria Goodwin, to the release that was recorded over a 6- month span. Song, “We Forget Everything” is a quiet, acoustic ode to erasing regret.  Line, “Winters in the west, give blood to the over dressed” help display the rich song writing of Stively.  As I listen to songs “Golden October” and “Psalms from the Kitchen” I can’t help, but hear the influential snippets of  acoustic folk legend Jeff Tweedy.  Strong song writing, folky goodness, and a quick reminder that Port O’Brien might have deceased, but their spirit is very much alive and well.

Friends in Indianapolis have a chance to hang onto the ghost of Port O’Brien when WATERS comes to town on March 23.  Get your tickets HERE. I want to thank Pierszalowski, Stively, and Cambria for refusing to hang us out to dry. Drenched, floating, and headphones above water.

Connect with Ryan Stively via Facebook | Bandcamp

Written by Brett McGrath

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