Led by Lowell’s Ryne Clarke, the ambitious new project was spotlighted for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted tracks by In the Valley Below, Mighty Big Rig, Crooked Spires, Laurel Premo and more.
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Granted, The Ryne Experience’s latest album, “The Hits,” is actually a “fake greatest hits” collection that’s jam-packed with 18 new songs covering two CDs and a wealth of varied styles.
But this young band’s prolific output certainly could merit a bona fide best-of compilation: The rock-hued, Lowell-based group led by 23-year-old Ryne Clarke has now produced six albums over a three-year time span.
“The Hits” – officially being released Saturday with a performance at Grand Rapids’ The Pyramid Scheme – covers a lot of sonic territory, with half of it devoted to “more serious” material featuring strings and “tight compositions” and the other half to “more lighthearted” tracks, live takes and comedy songs.
“We thought it would be funny if we released a two-CD set with a bunch of songs where it looks like it might be a greatest hits of old songs, but really it’s all new songs,” Clarke said of the project that’s “folk-rock at the basis of it all” but stretches in disparate directions genre-wise.
Band bassist Mitchell Evink, who also plays cello, said he appreciates the “random” nature of the project: “I just like how different this album is.”
As proof of that, The Ryne Experience showcased two contrasting tracks from the new double-album – “Won’t Mess” and “Dewey” (written about a cat) – for this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE. Scroll down to listen to the songs and the full radio show podcast.
The ambitious, lengthy album not only features the core band – guitarist-singer Clarke, bassist Evink, drummer Patrik Baney, keyboardist/percussionist Kyle Kuhn and lead guitarist John (Conrad) Schaak – but Joe Schimmelmann on saxophone, Caleb Waldvogel on bass and even a four-piece string quartet on one track. On top of that, Clarke, a multi-instrumentalist, pitches in on electric kazoo.
The project was recorded in Clarke’s recently renovated home studio in Lowell, Upstairs Man Studios, and mastered by Schaak for the Culture.m4a record label.
HONING ‘THE CRAFT OF MIXING AND RECORDING’
Clarke, a Lowell High School graduate who started playing accordion at 13 before picking up a guitar at 16 and co-founding the band The Preservers, plans to focus much of his attention this fall and winter on opening his studio for recording sessions by other bands.
It’s about “getting more into the craft of mixing and recording,” said Clarke, who’s also working on a documentary about the 1970s Illinois folk band The Ship and continuing to collaborate with Jason Roy’s The Soods.
For next summer, he aims to form a “semi-new live band” to “play all over Michigan,” and possibly beyond.
Before that, however, The Ryne Experience will uncork its live show in celebration of the new album at The Pyramid Scheme on Saturday. Tickets to the all-ages show – also featuring The American Hotel System, Bedroom Ceilings and Short Panic – are $12 in advance, available online here. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Ryne Experience also plays Smyrna Bar on Oct. 9, outdoors for a Pik-Nik concert at Grand Rapids’ Sullivan Field on Oct. 22 and its final show of the year at Skelletones in Grand Rapids on Nov. 13.
Clarke insisted that every band performance is an “experience” because of special guests and changes in the lineup: “Every live show is different.”
The Oct. 1 episode of Local Spins on WYCE – which spotlights local and regional music at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org – also featured new music from In the Valley Below, Bruce Madden, August (the musician’s pick by Clarke), County Parks, Crooked Spires, The American Hotel System, Shortly, Mighty Big Rig and Laurel Premo, as well as a track from the latest album by singer-songwriter Cole Hansen. Listen to the radio show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (10/1/21)
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