Armed with just a guitar and a passport, Limerick’s Marty Ryan has travelled the world playing to everybody and anybody who’ll have him. Sometimes at short notice, sometimes with the caveat that he has to be at work first thing Monday morning, it’s a work ethic that should be admired – and it’s allowed him to hone his craft perfectly for second album ‘Everybody’s Welcome’.
Sincerity shines, and Ryan’s an instantly likeable narrator, spinning yarns about small-town living or life on the road with understated charm. It’s organic, no-frills stuff, and while at times Ryan’s vocals are a touch strained, it all adds to the homespun, local-boy-done-good appeal.
It helps too that Ryan’s songwriting is frequently excellent, full-hearted and honest. Combined with some smart, full band arrangements, ‘Everybody’s Welcome’ frequently pops; at times sweepingly elegant, like the gorgeous ‘White Washed Walls’, at others electrifyingly direct, like on the exceptional ‘Precautionary’.
Tales of Ryan’s travels also loom large. ‘8 Hours in Stansted’, ’50 States’ and ‘Johnny Cash Was A Punk’ paint life on the road devoid of rose-tinted spectacles but instead serving as a reaction to these life experiences through a considered eye. The latter in particular – a response to playing Florida’s punk rock mecca Fest last year – could have been a mawkish paean, but stays the right side of heartfelt to make a lasting impression.
Yet, as enjoyable and wholesome as ‘Everybody’s Welcome’ is, it pales in comparison to seeing Marty Ryan live. A charming raconteur with a headful of songs, it’s a celebratory experience, and, as Ryan says, everybody’s welcome…