The West Texas-raised, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Ryan Culwell ain’t your ordinary troubadour. After dropping out of his successful time at Texas A&M as an economics student to become a musician, he eventually set down the guitar. He then took up a gaggle of jobs, including cow bile cooker, FedEx worker, server, roof salesman, furniture mover, sports radio editor, telemarketer, mail sorter, and fence builder. Now, eight years after stepping aside from his musical career, he’s writing music once again, and he’s taking all he’s learned from his hodgepodge of jobs during his absence from the music scene. In explaining his return, he points out, “When my daughters are grown they deserve a story that doesn’t include the woes of West Texas bars or a recounting of daddy’s touring history to explain why he left their mom. I left the scene so those stories wouldn’t write themselves over the top of me, and it was worth it.” With strong tunes like “I Think I’ll Be Their God”, the video of which you can watch exclusively below, it’s easy to see that the wait was worth it all along.
Culwell tells PopMatters about the video, “I went walking with some friends when I saw a sign that said No Trespassing, but it didn’t say anything on the other side. I took that as an invitation. You can’t spit in Nashville without hitting a construction site or caution tape. Investors don’t want the liability of people walking through their work sites, but not one construction worker said a thing to us. They just laid down their hammers and sat there grinning as I sang.”
He also warns: “Listening to my music is like watching No County For Old Men... all the emptiness and violence will either scare you away or you’ll find yourself alone at 3AM with it on repeat.”
Flatlands is out on 3 March via Lightning Rod.