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Musician Ryan McCarroll opens up about Sacramento

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Local artist Ryan McCarroll was scheduled to play a show tonight at Vintage Cafe, but as this story was being written, the show was postponed to Saturday night. Elation and Divasonic will also be playing sets March 7 at Vintage beginning at 7:30 p.m.

McCarroll, who is playing the middle set in the show has played three shows at Vintage before, and local art and music promoter Kevin Santos-Coy says, "His style is really intriguing in that it gives you kind of a Dave Matthews feel." However, McCarroll himself says he draws from diverse influences such as local artist Kate Gaffney and the late Notorious B.I.G.

He will also be playing next month’s Second Saturday in the Sacramento Alley Arts Festival, presented by Santos-Coy’s BridgeToArt organization. Featuring live music, fine art, theatre, and film, the festival will take place every Second Saturday from April-September weather permitting.

The following is an interview with McCarrol, conducted this afternoon, the day of his show, or rather, the day before his show.

So you were born in a log cabin?

No. I was born in the city in Cleveland, Ohio, but I’ve been living in a cabin all summer, since about June this year. Up here in the country I have a friend who owns a cabin out here and he said, "You could stay here when you come out." So I came out to get some writing done and get some songs worked out and stuff. I was kind of stuck in a rut at a point, and moved from to Ohio and came here, and that’s where I’ve been – up in the mountains.

What was living in Ohio like, and how has it shaped you?

I’d would say Cleveland is a wonderful city. There’s a good heavy metal scene. I spent a few years there, lived down in North Carolina, the New Orleans area, oversees. Then I came back, and was living in Cleveland, pursuing the music a little bit. But I found it just a little hard, not like California, which has my kind of music. I felt it would be a little better around here, but [Cleveland] is a great city and it will always be home, because my family is there, and I’ll be back there, no doubt, soon. So I’m just trying to get the ball rolling out here maybe so I can relocate, and maybe I’ll go out there some day.

So why exactly did you move to California?

College basically, and a little excitement. I was ready to get out of the freezing snow and cold of Cleveland. Tuition is actually a lot cheaper out here. And the music – music opportunities out here are a lot greater than where I come from.

Any plans in the near future to make a record in Sacramento, if not where do you see your future in Sacramento?

I’m definitely looking to cut an album here soon, and that would be a goal in the next year I would say. I’ve started recording out this way a little bit, but I think I’m going to make some contacts when I’m down there, and get some recording done. The goal in the long term, I’d like to start out in Sacramento and stay local. I’d like to make a base in Sacramento that I can expand on.

Who if anyone in the local music scene do you admire?

I guess you could say Kate Gaffney. I’ve been reading more about her and who she’s been working with and where she’s been going. Thats a point I’d like to get to someday.

Have you found that California or Sacramento has affected your style at all?

I wouldn’t say yet, because I’ve been kind of cooped up here in the mountains, fermenting. I’ve really only been down to Sacramento three or four times playing and stuff. I’m actually moving down there in the next month, and I would say it hasn’t yet [affected my style], but it definitely could here soon. So I’m looking forward to see if it does change the music in any way.

I read on your Myspace that one of your influences is Notorious B.I.G. How has he affected your style?

I never really listened to him until I moved out here, really. And the guy’s confidence is just unbelievable, he’s rapping the whole time about how he’s the illest emcee, and it just helps me, someone who sometimes has confidence issues like anybody does. But it’s good to see somebody like that going out there and making it – and he came from a rougher upbringing than me, and he had a lot more going against him. I just respect the guy; it’s just tragic that he was killed. I think he was the best emcee ever, and I listen to a lot of rap actually.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Musicians are here to entertain. You can make your art and everything, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to get gigs if you are not entertaining. That’s my approach to it, and that’s what I work for every time I play – to give people something to smile about, something to get excited about. That’s what I look toward in my guitar playing, singing and writing.


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