Monday, September 8, 2008

MidPoint Spotlight: Get to know the modest, Ryan Adcock

I recently contacted Ryan Adcock, to see if he would take part in my email interviews for some coverage for the upcoming MidPoint Music Festival. As someone who always enjoys MidPoint, Ryan said he would be happy to participate in any way that was helpful.

Here's what he had to say:

Nate Rosing: When and why did you begin playing music? When did you realize that you could sing? Do you have a musically gifted family?

Ryan Adcock: Oddly, I began playing music on a complete whim. When I was eight years old, some thought entered my brain and I asked for a guitar for Christmas. I didn't know anyone who played guitar; no one in my family played guitar. So, I'm not quite sure what my thinking was. By the time I started thinking about it, I was already hooked. Singing came much later. I was never much of a singer growing up, but like with any other instrument, a lot of stubborness and a good deal of practice made me decent enough.

NR: Describe what you think your music is, the sound, and possibly some artist's that you may be similar to, for the sake of anyone who may have not yet heard you. Who are some of your musical influences/heroes? Any non-musical influences/heroes?

RA: I hear a lot of John Mayer and Matchbox 20 comparisons. I'm not overly passionate about either artist, but I suppose its a fair enough assesment. I listen to a wide variety of music...always in search of new stuff. Some of my current favorites include Josh Ritter, Greg Mahan, Youssou N'Dour, Damien Rice, The Killers, and Paul Simon.

NR: What are some of the non-musical things you are into? You have a song on the Cincinnati Reds "Clutch Hits" CD. I haven't followed the Reds since the days of Sabo and Larkin, so how is the current Cincinnati Reds team doing?

RA: I do love the Reds. It's a depressing relationship lately, but I'm trying my darndest to keep the faith. Hmmm...this might sound a bit like a personal add. I also love hiking in National Parks, drinking red wine, reading everything I can get my hands on, watching political pageantry, talking about God, taking photographs and watching Coen Brothers movies.

NR: I once read on-line, that you have played in 39 states. What has touring across the country been like, and do you have any funny or interesting stories from the road?

RA: I love travel of all types. Touring is a unique blessing. I'm often in small college towns where, with nothing else to do, I find myself making day-long friends, trying out corner diners and, on occassion visiting odd attractions like the largest tractor in the world (Kansas), the movie set of Field of Dreams (Iowa, of course) or the first Waffle House (very hard to find - Georgia).

NR: Being an English major and a former high school English teacher, you must read a lot, so who are some of your favorite writers, and what types of books do you like to read?

RA: I'm always happiest when I have a good book by my bed. I'm a particular fan of non-fiction history books, travelogues and bildungsromans (a big word that my nerdy former-librarian wife taught me - means "coming of age" stories). John Steinbeck might be my favorite author...I highly recommend East of Eden (as does Oprah it turns out) and Pastures of Heaven.

NR: How does the writing process come about for your songs? Do you start with just music and then write lyrics, or vice versa?

RA: Music and lyrics usually come together. It involves a lot of noodling around on my guitar while singing ridiculous lyrics until some coherent thought travels through me. I still have no real idea how it happens.

NR: What would you say you tend to write about, or what do you like writing about? Are your songs about things that you have experienced in life?

RA: I'm always looking for new subjects. Lately, I've really enjoyed being forced to write about specific subject. For instance, when the Reds asked me to write a baseball song, I really enjoyed tackling a topic that I never would have tried on my own.

NR: These days, it seems you mainly play solo shows. What are the differences between playing solo gigs and having a backing band?

RA: I play far more solo shows nowadays. I love collaborating with other musicians, but the simplicity and freedom of playing by myself has always been appealing.

NR: What are you currently doing musically? Touring? New songs/album in the works?

RA: I'm almost finished with a new album that I've been working on with Vinyltones frontman Craig Dockery. It consists of 10 songs that I wrote over 10 weeks for church a few years back. Very mellow and a bit of a new direction for me. I continue to tour fairly regularly and am always trying to write new and better songs.

NR: You've played MidPoint several times before, so what are your thoughts on MidPoint, how it has evolved over the years, and do you have any special memories from a certain year playing MidPoint?

RA: I always have a wonderful time at MidPoint. Cincinnati has a fantastic music scene and I've always been honored to be a part of it. MidPoint is a great annual opportunity for all of the energy behind our music scene to culminate in one place.

NR: Are there any acts you're interested in seeing for yourself at MidPoint this year?

RA: I'm usually a bit ADD at MidPoint. I, of course, want to see my friends play. But, I also try to make a concerted effort to see out of town acts. A few years back, I caught Micah Dalton's set. He traveled up from Atlanta and absolutely blew me away. I've followed his career ever since. Those rare opportunities are my favorite thing about the festival.

NR: What has been the biggest challenge in being a musician?

RA: The biggest challenge is also my very favorite thing - writing songs that affect the listener in some meaningful way.

My thanks to Ryan for taking time out of his life, to answer some questions.

Catch Ryan's MidPoint set on the WNKU Stage at New Stage Collective on Thursday, September 25 at 8:30 pm. If you can't wait that long to see him play, he'll be playing a show on Monday, September 15, on the campus of Northern Kentucky University at noon.

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