Ryan Boldt 'Broadside Ballads' - Dahl Street

This is an album of rustic, melancholic (mostly) traditional ballads from The Deep, Dark Woods singer/songwriter Ryan Boldt. It has an immediate understated attractivness than centers around Boldt’s voice which is totally suited to delivering nine songs that deal with love, life and death. The album title might refer to Broadside magazine which began in 1962 to discuss and comment on all things folk and often included the lyrics to contemporary and traditional songs. Or, it may just be a suitable title. Either way, this collection of songs has a lasting appeal that belies the historic context. Many of the songs will be familiar to those with a passing interest in the repertoire of folk singers since the sixties and even earlier. The opening song Love is Pleasin’ and the following Just as the Tide was Flowing are just two examples of songs with melody and lyrics that will be well know to many in one form or another. The closing song Lazy John has a new melody from Boldt.

Some may find it odd that The Auld Triangle is not credited to Brendan Behan, but is listed as a traditional song. However that curious detail doesn’t detract from the quiet beauty of Boldt’s version which is stripped back to guitar, voice and slow beat and is highly effective. Boldt is accompanied here by Kacy Anderson on vocals and Clayton Linthicum on a number of instruments, both from the Boldt produced duo of Kacy & Clayton, as well as Jody Weger, Sara Froese and Kelly Wallraff on mandolin, violin and cello respectively. They take an unobtrusive role in the background, with the ambient weather and bird sounds often seeming more prominent in the mix.

There is a mood created throughout that is both pleasing and rewarding and makes the whole album seem like a peaceful place to visit even if the songs themselves come from a darker, deeper wood. As a sidestep from his work with the band and from his own writing, this makes for a interesting diversion and one that will either be a one-off or possibly a different road to pursue a wealth of often rarely heard songs.