Ry Cavanaugh, known for his work with ‘Session Americana’ has taken time out to record his first album in twenty years, one which brings a rather interesting story with it. Ry was just 22 when his father, George Cavanaugh passed. He himself was a musician, performing as a country and honky-tonk singer in the late 1970’s, bringing with him a musical community to the household. Amongst the musical backdrop, George Cavanaugh suffered with chronic depression and prescription opiate addiction. George was a big dreamer and unfortunately in the early 80’s, everything seemed to dissipate and sadly passed from heart failure. Now more recently in 2019, Ry reached the age at which his father died and took this significant moment to recover and revitalise the songs that his father wrote some 40 years ago. With the album comes a close interpretation of the songs, for who better to speak from his father’s voice than his very own son.
Our opening impression of Ry’s new record is a welcome one, some beautiful open chords and melodic guitar work illustrate the beginning of a great musical companionship between Cavanaugh and guitarist Duke Levine. The maturity of the musicianship continues through-out the album as Cavanaugh and Levine allow the songs room to breathe and the stories to settle in. As with much of the album, Cavanaugh’s voice sits easy on this track and intertwines tastefully with the harmonies of Jennifer Kimball, bringing a well-rounded arrangement to such a simple set-up of two guitars and two voices. Furthermore, Kimball’s voice brings warmth in contrast to the ‘cold wind’ that moves gently along, claiming “There’s a door before me, the answer is at hand, it’s not the one I wanted, it does not suit my plans”.
‘Too Tired For Drinking’ allows guitarist Levine some room to stretch out, making good use of the fretboard whilst again laying down that lovely melodic guitar work that compliments the songs so well. A sombre song that will lead any compassionate human being to feel empathy and hope towards Cavanaugh’s honest account and also one that displays the reflective personality of Cavanaugh’s father, a trait which is always sure to provide us with some of the best songwriters.
The pace of the album deviates, ‘Lost Woman Song’ provides a nice contrast along with other songs like ‘Sink or Swim’ and ‘Help Me Doctor’ with its bluesy counterparts which is something of importance with fewer musicians to influence the context of each song.
The title track ‘Time For This’ really brings it home, bringing a taste of James Taylor to the table infused with one of the most appropriate and timely pieces of music to benefit the album “There is a young fellow I know and he talks oh so silently, and you kinda got to get your head down and your ear up close to his, this I know because he’s my kin and that’s why I listen. He’s talking from the top of his head, as he lies in the cradle, he brings up his toes to the bottom of his nose, he says it makes him feel at ease with the one that he aims to please”.
The complete album makes great company, the simple arrangements make an inspiring example of what can be done with less and many will appreciate Cavanaugh’s passion towards the songs. Congratulations Ry, the old man would be proud.