Ryan Kinder: ‘Room to Dream’ – Album Review

Ryan Kinder’s first independent release Room to Dream is out today, July 30, on all streaming platforms. Featuring ten new tracks, nine of which he co-wrote, check out the full project here.

With a beautifully weathered voice that drips of a life well-lived, Ryan Kinder lends his soulful sound to Room to Dream, his new album out today, July 30. Featuring ten new tracks, the independent release reveals Kinder at his most authentic to date.  “I had a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to do after a certain time in my life, and all these songs came together with different aspects of who I was when I wrote them,” he reveals in a statement. “It was a beautiful realization that some of the bad things and not-so-fun situations led to the opportunity for me to have the room to dream, and to really be myself.”

The album opens with “Something,” the only new track not co-written by Kinder. Written by Jon Green, Dave Barnes, and Laura Veltz, the song is a slow burn of a midtempo reflecting a similar slow-burning friendship that just might be something more. The couple finds themselves at a pivotal point in their relationship between staying just friends or exploring more than that, as Kinder asks “How long can we go on saying it’s nothing? // Maybe it’s something.”

Kinder explores similar themes on “Friends” and “Nothing But Time.” On the latter, co-written by Luke Sheets and Paul DiGiovanni, he sings of a relationship that has already crossed the line, while the pair claims to be just friends. “Friends don’t look at their friends the way you’re looking at me right now,” he sings. “Friends don’t do with their friends things I wanna do right now.”

Meanwhile, on “Nothing But Time,” the album’s sparsely gorgeous final track, his voice aches with the longing to be with someone, accompanied beautifully by background vocals from Brittany Kennel. In a stirring twist, the song ends purely a capella, closing the album with nothing but Kinder’s beautifully haunting voice as he sings “We’ve got nothing but time.”

On “Hell Is,” Kinder explores the darker side of a relationship that he admits was inspired by a locker room conversation. The singer-songwriter said he began taking notes in that very YMCA, bringing them to a writing session with Clare Dunn and Kevin Bard that evolved into this track. Here, they explore the end of a relationship, admitting that “hell is anywhere without you.”

He explores a similar subject on “Blame,” one of the album’s heaviest tracks, on which Kinder channels his inner Eric Church. Full of driving guitars and a hand-clapping, stomping beat, the song is an immediate standout on the album. “Southbound” also has a similar sound, preventing the album from slumping in the middle as he sings of the joy of returning home after being gone for too long.

“Jane” was co-written by Kinder and Nashville heavyweights Ross Copperman and Josh Osborne, and might be the most country-leaning song on the album with its twangy guitar picking. The song puts a clever spin on the idea of a “plain Jane,” as he sings, “there’s nothing plain about Jane,” musing that he can’t believe her parents even named her that.

While the majority of songs here are about relationships, Kinder also sings about his career on “Want” and the album’s title track. With “Want,” he reveals that it was written during a dark time, where he’d be signed and then record labels would try to change him. “I was feeling disillusioned about being a signed artist. I’d been through multiple record deals. Every time I’d get signed and they’d say ‘we love what you’re doing,’” he reveals. “Then, as soon as I’d sign the papers, they begin this slow process of trying to make me into something different. It was unbelievably frustrating.”

Meanwhile, “Room to Dream” was inspired by a Bruce Springsteen documentary that both he and co-writer Jonathan Singleton watched. Inspired by Springsteen’s one-line tidbits of knowledge, the pair explored the idea of hitting the open road and finding space to just dream. “My favorite line I had was ‘Every wish has got a star to hang on,’” Kinder says. “It embodied the new chapter of my career. It said really simply…keep chasing. There’s room for you out there. There’s room to be you. There’s room to dream.”

There is definitely room for Kinder to be himself, evidenced beautifully on “Room to Dream.” While he may no longer be a signed artist, the singer-songwriter is chasing his dream in a way that’s authentic and true, and the proof is in the music.

Room To Dream Tracklist:

  1. Something – Jon Green, Dave Barnes, Laura Veltz
  2. Hell Is – Ryan Kinder, Kevin Bard, Clare Dunn 
  3. Room To Dream – Ryan Kinder, Jonathan Singleton 
  4. Tangled Up – Ryan Kinder, Luke Sheets, Fred Wilhelm
  5. Blame – Ryan Kinder, Luke Sheets, Fred Wilhelm
  6. Southbound – Ryan Kinder, Luke Sheets, Fred Wilhelm
  7. Want – Ryan Kinder, Luke Sheets, Fred Wilhelm,
  8. Friends – Ryan Kinder, Luke Sheets, Paul DiGiovanni
  9. Jane – Ryan Kinder, Ross Copperman, Josh Osborne
  10. Nothing But Time – Ryan Kinder, Luke Sheets, Renee Meyers

Our Picks:

  1. “Blame”
  2. “Nothing But Time”
  3. “Jane”

Ryan Kinder’s new album ‘Room To Dream’ is available now.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming Ryan Kinder announcements and releases.

To keep up with Ryan Kinder, follow him on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. 

Room to Dream is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.