Red Deer singer Ryan Carnduff continues to carve out his own unique musical niche on the local musical landscape.
The gifted songwriter and performer has a remarkable way of connecting with audiences via his artistry and performance style, all the more strengthened by his warm and affable personality. He’s also been a two-time nominee for ‘Singer/Songwriter of the Year’ at the Red Deer Entertainment Awards.
“I’ve always loved music; I remember as a child dancing around the record collection,” he recalls during a recent chat. ”I also wanted to learn how to play the drums, but my parents got me into guitar lessons when I was eight – it was quieter, I think,” he added with a laugh.
For us listeners, it was indeed the right choice – Carnduff, who describes his tunes as falling largely in the folk vein, has a way with crafting music via his guitar that certainly leaves an impact.
His vocal skills are also striking, as are clearly reflected in tunes such as Waking Up, (Let Me) Take You Out and the gently engaging sensibilities of the aptly titled Quiet. I’m Letting Go also brings to light his ability to pen a compelling melody that provides a framework for a certain lyrical richness.
It’s hard to imagine these songs – which resonate so deeply with such authenticity and heart – being sung with any other voice. Carnduff’s clear vocals, powered by plenty of emotional depth, are the ideal means of conveying whatever message he is trying to get across to audiences.
That gift for singing kind of surfaced during the years he was studying guitar, so it’s no wonder the two meld so naturally together.
“I also took choir in high school and did some musical theatre as a kid. I also had a very brief time in a band once I graduated from high school but that didn’t stick,” he explained, adding he also ventured into the music program at Red Deer College, but things didn’t work out there as planned either.
It was becoming clear that Carnduff, who is a cook by day, had much to offer musically, but perhaps it was going to come about in a different kind of way; in his ‘own’ way and in his own time.
Over the following years his own family was growing, so family responsibility was becoming more front and centre.
But that didn’t mean the passion for music was fading from view.
“It wasn’t until about six years ago that a friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in years wanted to start jamming. So we were doing that, and it became a weekly thing. He said, ‘Let’s try doing this as an open mic type-of-thing and see where that goes, so we started doing that.”
‘Ryan and the Folkarounds’ featured Carnduff and Andrew Moseson, and proved to be a popular acoustic duo on the local circuit. “That was between 2012 and 2014,” he recalled.
That eventually faded, and so Carnduff, who was also born and raised in Red Deer, opted to venture out more and more as a solo artist.
It wasn’t a completely easy transition, as Carnduff describes himself as quite a shy person in general. But ultimately, there is just something about hitting the stage with his guitar that feels ‘like home’. Once he starts communicating with an audience, that nervous energy turns to only fuel his performance further.
Since those initial days, word of just what he brings audiences has been spreading, so these days he’s a pretty busy guy on the local musical circuit.
“The response has been really positive – it’s been phenomenal,” he said. “The music scene in Red Deer is great – people are so supportive of one another,” he added. “It’s a tight-knit community, and I love being a part of it. It’s really special.”
As to songwriting, Carnduff said he penned his first tune about five years ago.
The process for doing this shifts from time to time – ideas can pop up virtually any time.
Often, ideas come to him when he’s at work – not the most convenient of places when one is focused on other things in a hectic environment, he explained with a laugh. “I’ve lost dozens of really killer ideas that way,” he laughed.
“Ideas do just come to me. It can be a line, or a phrase,” he said, adding that melodies do however spring up initially sometimes as well. For a closer look at his works, check out ryancarnduff.bandcamp.com and reverbnation.com.
Looking ahead, he’s hoping to lay down some tracks this fall with local singer/songwriter Nathan Danser for another EP.
He’s also got a show at The Krossing slated for Sept. 7th. and is playing at the Velvet Olive on Sept. 8th.
“That’s actually the room I started out playing in six years ago, so it’s kind of nice to be returning.
“I love performing. I love getting a reaction from somebody, to see someone feel something from what I’m doing – that makes me know I must be doing something okay, and that is awesome.”
You can also find him on facebook at ‘Ryan Carnduff music’.