Maui Wowie

I wasn't expecting to run across any new entertainment entities during my vacation to Hawaii. Sure, I'd be watching the Super Bowl, and maybe I'd catch some episodes of my usual shows or play some games in the down times between going out on the town or lazing on the beach, but I didn't figure I'd discover something I'd never seen/heard before. It turns out that not only did I get introduced to new music, but I got it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. I had the opportunity to meet and spend a little time hanging out with Ryan Robinson, a Maui-based singer-songwriter, and after hearing a sampling of his stuff, I happily bought his album, A Couch to Call Home, to bring back with me.

It's impossible to describe a musician without comparing him/her to musicians with similar styles who have come before. Robinson's voice is along the same stylistic lines as Jack Johnson's or John Mayer's, but his tone is completely different. I wanted to listen to the songs for a good, long while so I could be sure I could actually judge on the music and not just toss a good grade towards a guy who's really nice and whose music I enjoyed while being the most relaxed I've been in years. Happily, I still enjoy the CD a month later, even as I trudge home through a snowstorm after a stressful work day.

There are eight tracks on A Couch to Call Home, and one of the things I like most about it is that all eight are completely unique. Highlights include the kick-back-and-enjoy-life "Easy Living" (which has an insanely catchy hook), the grittier blues-inspired "Gravedigger", and the pensive paean to comforting memories, "Home". Some of the songs are on YouTube, and I'd encourage people to check them out. I don't know much about how the music industry functions or doesn't function, but the commentaries I read on the subject all agree that in general, too much attention is paid to Top 40 artists, and not enough to independent musicians, many of whom can't get anybody to even hear their work. The internet is slowly changing all that, and I'm finally starting to encounter some wonderful tracks I'd never have known about otherwise. In this case, though, it wasn't the internet that brought some good music to my attention, but a happy accident.

A Couch to Call Home: A-


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