Photo by Lina Allemano
Ryan Driver is a songwriter, improvisor, and multi-instrumentalist based in Toronto, Canada. He performs frequently in and around that city and tours internationally sometimes. Notable appearances have included Hijiori International Music Festival in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan; Angelica Festival of New Music in Bologna, Italy; Heartland Festival in Vevey, Switzerland; Canadian Blast at Trafalgar Square and the Barbican in London, England; Bergenfest in Bergen, Norway; and Tanned Tin Festival in Castellon, Spain. Besides his own projects, Ryan has sung and/or played piano, flute, analogue synthesizer, guitar, melodica, and/or his simple homemade instruments (thumb-reeds and streetsweeper bristle bass) with frequent collaborators Eric Chenaux, Sandro Perri, Jennifer Castle, Alex Lukashevsky, Doug Tielli, Nick Fraser, Rob Clutton, Lina Allemano, Thom Gill, Brodie West, Michael Davidson, Martin Arnold, and many others. Ryan's recorded output is available mainly through Rat-drifting, Barnyard Records, Fire Records, and Tin Angel Records.
Ryan always sounds like he has come a long way to sing you a song. His voice contains vast North American distances, long cold winters, the endless ugly monotony of the country, which can be broken and dissipated only by beer, love and music. He is always arriving too late or too early, and what he sings about is always to be found somewhere else, somewhere where he's not. Even when he sings jazz standards, the music isn't nostalgic or pessimistic, in fact you can't tell whether he's talking about the past or the future. Soft, sad, determined … the fact that he's here now, singing these songs is, for those that need such things, a sign of great hope.
- Marcus Boon