Over the years, Texas native and award-winning country music singer/songwriter, Mike Ryan, has had nine #1 songs on the Texas Country Music charts. He recently released his latest album entitled, “Longcut.”
How did your interest in country music begin?
Growing up, I listened to all kinds of music but country music seemed to speak to me on a different level. I come from a very musical family. Everyone played some kind of instrument and we all sang, too. Gramps was the main influence there but he didn’t teach me as much about how to play as he did WHY to play. Music is love. It moves people. It evokes emotion. My dad was a performer as well. I would tag along at dress rehearsals and then when the show came around I was just as wowed as everyone else in the audience. I didn’t know then that I would be following his lead when I grew up but it made me very proud.
When you were younger, did you aspire to be a singer or did you have another career choice in mind?
I never really knew what I was gonna do for a living when I was growing up. This career path didn’t really reveal itself to me until I picked up a guitar near the end of high school, but once I learned to play it turned into an obsession. Each new chord or lead I learned seemed to stoke that fire, and when I started writing songs it became much more difficult to imagine doing anything else.
What do you like about living in Texas?
It’s always been home for me. There’s a sense of pride that comes with Lone Star natives. Hard to explain if you’re not from around here but easy to understand if you are.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
You can usually find me chasing after my kids. They are growing up fast and since I travel frequently without them, I try to soak up as much as I can when they are around. Outside of that, I’ll probably have a bow in my hands out flinging arrows or working on my golf game.
What has been your most exciting career accomplishment so far?
Being invited to play The Opry is probably at the top of the list currently. We’ve played a lot of really great shows in front of some massive audiences and that never gets old, but The Opry is a different kind of special.
Tell us about your recent album release, Longcut.
This has been probably my most collaborative album yet. I wrote a bunch of songs for it both before and during the pandemic and also had an opportunity to cut some outside songs that are really great! We took more time than usual putting it together and while it may have taken a little longer to get out, I feel like we got a much better product because of it. “Loser”, “Get Away with Anything”, “All my Songs” and the title track are a few of my favorites. But you don’t have to take my word for it!
Who is your country music idol and why?
If I had to pick one it would probably be George Strait. He lived just down the road from where I grew up in San Antonio, and we got to see him in concert several times. His body of work is incredible, and he’s just been an all around classy guy. My brother played soccer with his son Bubba and my cousins rodeoed with him, too, so it was cool to see the family man side as well.
Tell us about any current project/future plans.
The Longcut release has been at the top of the list for a while, so now that it’s out we will take some time to enjoy it. The current tour will give our fans a chance to see us play all these songs live. (My favorite part) but the work is never done! I’ll be getting together with some of my favorite co writers soon to start work on the next project. No timeline for that at the moment, you’ll just have to stay tuned.
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.