State Champion • Sat Nite Duets • Old Pup (Full band)
If Bob Dylan was funny, if Tom Waits was relevant, Ryan might not be peerless at what he does best, which is writing large gregarious circles around his pitiful colleagues in the field.
He's the best lyricist who's not a rapper going. - David Berman (Silver Jews)
"State Champion's most fully realized Beard Rock expression to date. The surrealist underpinning of Ryan's lyrics are heavier than ever, balanced by the band's most epiphanically tasty licking. The pieces fit together with such easy organic grace, it's tempting to suspect they're simple. But the closer you listen to the parts the more complex they appear.
This begins with Ryan's words, sung so gracefully you have to concentrate to pick up on the timeless phrases he invents here. Same goes for the instrumentation, which initially passes as a mere recreation of lost Topanga threads. but surpasses those bounds with something approaching the same assurance as the David Lindley-led band on Terry Reid's River LP (the transcendent Beard Rock masterpiece)...Peel slowly and see." - Byron Coley
"I'm not 100% sure why State Champion's exceptional 4th album is called Send Flowers, but I could probably guess. The band do this shaggy-dog wink and shuffle, smart rock-n-roll like the Ass Pony's (my favorite 90's rock-n-roll band) or Sentimental Hygiene-era Zevon or even Son Volt if Jay Farrar actually had a sense of humor. But there's nothing smug or micro-brew about this record, nothing that makes you think, "these guys are winners!" Long past their 7-year itch, SC play together like groovers, who spend more time on Craigslist than Instagram and buy their amps at pawn shops, not Guitar Center. It's not college-rock; it's college dropout rock!
Vocalist and songwriter Ryan Davis somehow convinced/charmed Edith Frost to sing on the record, so she drove from Austin to Bloomington, IN, where they recorded (good move, she rules). The band is doing the long-distance-thing these days, members spread out over several states now, so they convened down the road from Mellencamp's compound at Russian Recording. If I had been invited, I think I would've fit in just fine. We'd probably talk about the good years for minivans, Rip Torn, why a B.L.T. is the perfect sandwich, seasonal allergies, Dwight Yoakam, and why Funny Farm is the best movie of the '80's. And if I didn't become their friend, I'd at least become a character in one of their songs.
So what's my guess as to why they named the record, Send Flowers? State Champion write the kind of jams that capture the sad and joyful ennui of living that starts with, "fuck, I overslept!" and ends (days? years?) later with "but, I love you!" They aren't asking you to "send flowers" to a funeral or a celebration- too extreme. Their special occasion is that middle-section-life- with a lowercase "l". Call your florist."" - Jerry David DeCicca
Madison, WI's Old Pup is a psychedelic folk outfit with a love for lap steel, singing saw, and surrealism. The project was created by multi-instrumentalist Will Hansen, who plays guitar, bass, singing saw, lap steel, mandolin, harmonica, banjo, vocals, cigar box guitar, and broom on the album ("JunkDrawer Daydreams” out March 1st, 2019). The trajectory of the project is currently moving towards collaboration, with live performances featuring duo, trio, and full band iterations of the songs. Hansen recycles influences from Folk and Americana music to create his eclectic, psychedelic originals, while always tipping his cap to the heroes that haunt and jolt him to life everyday (Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, etc).