Ryan Calhoun - Everything That I'm Not

Published Saturday 28th March 2009
Ryan Calhoun - Everything That I'm Not
Ryan Calhoun - Everything That I'm Not

RATING 5 5 5 5 5
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 51331-14849
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Paddy Hudspith

Ryan Calhoun's debut album 'What Are We Doing Here?' helped to earn him the title of Best New Male Artist in the 2007 Los Angeles Music Awards, so this second release arrives with the weight of a little expectation on its shoulders. Producer Bill Lefler opts for a mid-range AOR rock approach when serving up Calhoun's acoustic-based, mostly mid-tempo offerings, adding powerful guitar crunch occasionally, and regularly weaving in the type of piano lines which these days always make a track sound like Coldplay to me. It's an efficient production job, unremarkable in that it intends to showcase Calhoun and his songs first and foremost, but for me these just weren't especially memorable, nor was the voice delivering them. Maybe this CD is a grower, but so far (after four plays) 'Everything That I'm Not' hasn't sunk its hooks into me. Calhoun seems to be a graduate of the insular, slightly melancholy, "me, me, me" school of songwriting. Determinedly "drawing from my own experiences" he may be, but lately, it appears, they have him questioning his self-worth, struggling with unhappiness and (probably) grieving the end of a relationship ("Sometimes Sorry Is The Wrong Thing To Say"); he does look quite glum on the album cover. There are hints at greater spiritual reality in Ryan's life, but pretty abstract ones: "I know that grace is coming/But I haven't found it yet" ("Everything"), "But there is hope in the pain/Hope in my tears/And even my shame" ("Hope"), "Have I been let down/Or am I learning now/To trust in what I cannot see?" ("What I Want"). Ryan Calhoun clearly has potential and a developing gift as a songwriter. Time for him now to hone the craft, push on and see what's around the next corner.

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