I first met Ryan Jewell at Skylab in Columbus, Ohio in the mid-2000’s as the city was experiencing an amazing era of creative musical output. Around this time, he was constantly playing solo gigs and also collaborating with lots of other musicians at all of the music spots around town. I was lucky enough to get to collaborate with Ryan a few times in those days and we’ve been great friends ever since. However, he evolved so far past all of the rest of us in that little scene. He has went on to blaze one hell of a trail and has been delivering some fantastic recordings over the years.
All of us here at Lost Treasures of the Underworld are huge fans of Ryan Jewell and we feel compelled to share his work and talent with all of you in this first edition of Lost Treasures of the Other Worlds. – Tom Derwent
LT: We’re living in one of the weirdest times I can ever recall. What have you been up to these days?
RJ: I’ve been doing a lot of road work the past few years and in some ways this is a welcome break to move at a different pace and work on some other things for a while. Making the best out of a difficult situation, I feel like I’ve found a nice routine while sheltering in place. A nice balance of practice and projects and quality family time. I’ve also been able to spend more time on remote recordings and teaching lessons over Zoom/Skype.
LT: Every time I see you playing music, you look like you are having so much fun. Your ability to play drums makes it look almost effortless, like it is just natural for you to be so good. Is it something that just comes natural for you or was there something that helped you develop over the years as a drummer/musician?
RJ: Thanks, Tom. I definitely genuinely love playing music. And, like, all kinds of music. I wouldn’t say that it’s effortless by a long shot, but I do try to keep my body relaxed and LISTEN deeply to allow the musically appropriate thing to happen. Year after year, the longer that I play and the more that I practice, the more natural it feels. There are occasional days when I’m able to get out of my own way and just let the music play. It’s hard to explain, but I think eventually the instrument becomes a more natural extension and you don’t have to think about it. It all comes from an “ears first” approach instead of a “muscle memory” approach. It’s about listening deeply to what’s actually happening at that moment, and not thinking in terms of some kind of physical, technical thing.
LT: Are there any specific recordings/releases that you’ve made over the years that stand out in your mind as your favorite(s)?
RJ: I still like the way I played on the “The Lilywhite Sessions” record by Ryley Walker. Even though the record was made relatively quickly, I was able to experiment with a variety of sounds, feels, styles and personalities for each of the songs. I’m really happy with the new Mosses record, “T.V. Sun”, and it was a kind of personal project where I got to play lots of guitar and other instruments and be involved in songwriting and production choices. Similarly, the Ryan Jewell Quintet “Vibration!” record was creatively satisfying in that I got to grow and experiment with composing and arranging for a chamber/ jazz ensemble.
LT: When I met you, we both lived in Columbus, Ohio. I moved to NYC a few years later and I know you have been all over the place. Last I heard, you are also in New York. What are some of the things you have found about the places you have lived and played music that formed you as musician?
RJ: I grew up in a small town on the Kentucky/ Ohio/ West Virginia border called Portsmouth, OH, and I think there’s something about the “down-to-earth-ness” of that Appalachian area that made a lasting impression more than anything else. Appreciating the railroad, the shoestring factory, the river, the woods, the bluegrass, the punk shows and the classic rock bar bands at the Eagles club as much all of the artsy experimental music that I was also interested in.
LT: How scientific do you get in the studio? Are you someone who likes to really plan everything that makes it onto the tape or do you prefer to go in with some basic idea of what you want and get right down to it without a lot of prep, and see what happens?
RJ: Every situation is different, but I always let the song and music completely dictate what I play. I listen to the artist and the producer to get an idea of what they think the finished master might be like. But, I’m also very comfortable and playful in the studio. I rarely play exactly the same thing every take, although I can replicate things if we find a hook that works. It’s nice to be able to let some subtle magic and life happen in the moment. You want it to be music. You want it to be creative. Sometimes that’s playing a lot. Sometimes that’s playing nothing at all. Sometimes it’s a beat, sometimes it’s thinking like an arranger, sometimes it’s thinking like an engineer and exciting a frequency range. Often it comes down to simplicity and groove, but with interesting sounds and a touch of quirkiness or the unexpected.
LT: Most people around the world are on lockdown due to the current crisis. Most concerts and public events have been cancelled or postponed. Do you have any new releases/shows/events/web stuff/things you’d like to tell our audience to keep an eye out for?
RJ: I have a Bandcamp page for Mosses which has the newest record, “T.V. Sun”. I also have a Ryan Jewell bandcamp that has the Quintet record on it and some solo releases. There are two new things coming out this Friday that I played on. An excellent record from songwriter Warren Byrom called “Dreaming the Sun”. And a live record by Chris Forsyth (with Daniel Carter and a bunch of other great folks) called “Solar Live Vol 4: Techno Top”. No new streaming concerts scheduled, but I’ll probably do some more. Other than that I’m available for varied music lessons over Skype/Zoom and I’m available for remote recording sessions.
• Warren Byrom – Dreaming the Sun
• Chris Forsyth (w/ Daniel Carter) – Techno Top Solar Live Vol. 4
• Mike Tamburo – Fantastic Tales
• Michael Krassner – Ancient Music
• Chris Forsyth & Garcia Peoples – Peoples Motel Band
• Mosses – TV Sun
• Laraaji & the Lila band – Eclipse
• Laraaji & the Lila band – Eclipse Phases
• Otis M. Karson – Broken Guitar Players
• Nadia Di Gregorio – The Hour
• Matthew O’Neil – Kyll Time
• Guma – TBA
• Danny Arakaki – TBA
• Steve Gunn/ Ryan Jewell/ Ryley Walker – Flops In New York
• Matt Valentine – Preserves
• Simon Joyner – Pocket Moon
• Mosses – Speaking Mountain
• Stan Smith – Two Nights in February
• Elkhorn – Sun Cycle
• Elkhorn – Elk Jam
• Chris Forsyth – All Time Present
• Chris Gantry – Nashlantis
• Math of Trees – Math of Trees
• Ryan Jewell Quintet – Vibration!
• Mosses – V/A International Anthem No. 9
• Ryley Walker – The Lilywhite Sessions
• One Eleven Heavy – Everything’s Better
• Stan Smith – Moments (Of A Journey)
• Andrew Lamb Trio – Casbah of Love
• Hans Chew – V/A Freedom of the Press
• Jesse Henry & Jorma Kaukonen – Southeastern Ohio Hills
• Bill MacKay – SpiderBeetleBee
• Brett Burleson Quartet – Songs For My Friends
• Rafael Toral & Ryan Jewell Duo – Live in Lisbon
• Harvey Mandel – Snake Pit
• Ryley Walker – Golden Sings That Have Been Sung
• Ryan Jewell – V/A Cut Up America (Factotum Tapes)
• Bat Ami Moses – SHIRjoy
• Alex Schrock Trio – Punk Jazz
• Mosses – ???
• Mosses – Ouroboros
• Jerry David DeCicca – Understanding Land
• Ryan Jewell – Radio Vol. 2
• Mosses – Attic Dundee
• Ryan Jewell – V/A Ohio Volume One
• Mosses – Used Magik
• Ryan Jewell – V/A: Praisin’ & Hell Raisin’; A Benefit for LCM Collective
• Ryan Jewell – V/A Feral Flotsom
• AeA/ Ryan Jewell – Home Made Pigeon Pt. 2
• Ryan Jewell – Infinite Light
• Ohio Unsemble – Ohio Unsemble
• Ryan Jewell – Radio Vol 1
• Ryan Jewell v. Drake & Russell – Split
• Ryan Jewell – Eschew Obfuscation; Espouse Elucidation
• Ryan Jewell/ Dylan Nyoukis – You Are Playin’ Like A Fuckin’ Pub Band. Six
• Psychedelic Horseshit – Laced
• Kenneth Messer – The Phoenix Project
• Fossils – Jewelled Fossils
• New Age Renegades – New Age Renegades
• Swamp Leather/ Adam Smith – split
• (D)(B)(H)/ Tiny Music – split
• Face Place – Tomorrow
• bst. cr – Live At Gallery 1412
• Mike Shiflet & Ryan Jewell – Hysteresis
• Sword Heaven – Gone
• Psychedelic Horseshit – Acid Tape
• Andrew Graham & Swarming Branch – Andrew Graham’s Good Word
• Face Cage – Cave Face
• Layne Garrett – Duos: Together/ Apart
• C Spencer Yeh / Jon Lorenz / Ryan Jewell – Live At CAC 7.21.08
• Matt Milton / David Thomas / Ryan Jewell / Patrick Farmer – Bear Ground
• Storm Of Corpses – Bite Your Tongue
• Ryan Jewell / Face Place – Untitled
• Pink Reason – The World’s Lousy With Ideas Vol 8
• Mike Khoury & Ryan Jewell – Squall Line Bow Echo
• Psychedelic Horseshit – Shitgaze Anthems
• Terribly Empty Pockets – Cat Mountain
• Swamp Leather – Dec. 29
• New Age Renegades – Live at Lambsden
• Ryan Jewell – Bird Swarm, Bird’s Warm, Bird’s Worm
• Michael Pisaro’s “Only [harmony series #17]”
• Ryan Jewell – Live In Toronto: Space Truckin’
• Rejuvenation Trio – Rejuvenation Voyage
• Ryan Jewell – of keeping everything from happening at
• C. Spencer Yeh / Jon Lorenz / Ryan Jewell – Live At CAC 7.21.08 (2xCS)
• Ryan Jewell – Autodidact Starfruit Motherfucker
• AeA/ Ryan Jewell – Home Made Pigeon
• Ryan Jewell – Fantastic Voyagers Vol 2
• Fossils – Jewelled Fossils
• Rage Against the Cage – Ten
• Psychedelic Horseshit – Where’s the Beat? Live In The WFMU Studios
• Hiss – Attack Of The Clones
• Ryan Jewell – Hammer Live 999
• Abbs/ Brown/ Hardy/ Jewell – Live At The Marquise Dance Hall
• Mike Khoury, Christopher Riggs & Ryan Jewell – Conversations Among The Dead
• Ryan Jewell / C. Spencer Yeh / Wasteland Jazz Unit – Ohio Ghastly Soil
• Mike Brown / Ryan Jewell / Seth Meicht / Aaron Meicht – I Have •No Idea How Brilliant You Are
• Psychedelic Horseshit – WFMU Presents: The Free Music Archive Sampler Vol 1
• Ryan Jewell – Solo Renegades
• Ryan Jewell/ Mike Shiflet – Trees R Just Passing Through
• Ryan Jewell/ Reuben Radding/ Nate Wooley – Rift
• Ryan Jewell/ Wasteland Jazz Unit w/ RJ – Rooms
• Ryan Jewell – Hammer Live #6
• Ryan Jewell/ Jon Lorenz – untitled
• Ben Bennett/ Ryan Jewell – Squid Line
• Breakfast Salad – Notable Winter
• Ryan Jewell & Ed Chang – Wood Box
•Ryan Jewell – Portsmouth, OH
• Ryan Jewell – Two Blind Men Crossing A Log Bridge
• Starlight Fleecing – Starlight Fleecing
•Spanish Prisoners – Songs To Forget
• Terribly Empty Pockets – Get Wet
• Owen Kelley – Why Did She Give Me These Things? I Can’t Remember.
• Jordan O’ Jordan – Not Style, Nor Season, Nor Hard-Handed Lesson
• Shatters – Workbook Studio – 25 Hour Grand Prix
• Terribly Empty Pockets – Sexy World
• Household Names, Complete Strangers – Audio Silhouette Vol. 1: Lip Service
• Complete Strangers – Complete Strangers