Ryan Kinder Goes All in On Debut ‘Room to Dream


Every year music critics and fans create their lists of what they believe to be the best albums of the year, and among those lists are at least a handful of fantastic albums that are worthy of the buzz surrounding them. And although, 2021 was a solid year for new music releases, to me, there was only one album that stood out as exceptional. An album that outshined every other album released this year. Yes, even Adele’s 30 and Red (Taylor’s Version). And whether you’ve heard it or not, you can take my word that the best album of 2021 is unquestionably Ryan Kinder’s Room to Dream.

Released at the end of July, Kinder’s full-length debutshowcases his infinite talents in all their glory. Much like the multidimensional artist himself, Room to Dream is impossible to pigeonhole as it explores Kinder’s appreciation and love of multiple genres and their obvious influence on him. His ability to effortlessly move between musical styles is both impressive and pivotal as it maintains the cohesiveness of the album. Whether it’s the soothing, soulful melodies on tracks like “Tangled up” or the southern grit on “Southbound” or the rip-roaring, blues infused rock jams like “Blame” and “Want,” you never feel lost while listening to Room to Dream because each song highlights the singer-songwriter’s strengths, revealing yetanother layer to his mind-bending artistry. Even when the mood shifts from the darker undertones of songs like “Hell Is” and “Friends” to the softer Jackson Browne vibes on “Jane” and “Nothing but Time,” the connection Kinder has created between him and his listeners is heard and holds strong.

Long overdue and appropriately titled, Room to Dreamfeels like being on an open road with a full tank of gas, and not a traffic light or stop sign in sight. Without a record label to dictate its direction, this album is Kinder’s journey to musical freedom. With the ability to write, record, and release the music that felt right to him, the Alabama native was able to spread his creative wings and soar. As a result, listeners were given an album that feels largerthanlife with its 10 tracks that stick with us long after their 32 minutes has passed, a testament to the kind of artist Ryan Kinder is, as his close friend and longtime songwriting partner in crime, Luke Sheets will tell you.

“You go through your career and it’s like you have so many artists that you get to write with, and they’re all different and they’re all special and they all do different things, but there are just some that stick, and Ryan has definitely been that that for me more than any other artist,” Sheets, who has seven co-writes on Room to Dream, explained to me during an interview earlier this year on my podcast, Striking a Chord.

Indeed, the “Still Believe in Crazy Love” singer is a hidden gem within the music industry and nowhere is this more illustrated than on his full-length debut. Full of wailing guitars, passionate lyrics and vocals that soar to existential heights,Room to Dream is so much more than just an album. Produced by Sheets and featuring a slew of heavyweight co-writers, it’s proof that there is nothing too far out of reach for Ryan Kinder.And as he sings on the title track, “Let’s get a little wide open/Quit trying to fix what ain’t broken,” it’s in this moment where we realize that’s exactly what Kinder has done. He (and Sheets) created space to let his dreams run wild, allowing them the room they needed to breathe with endless possibilities. An arena sing-along full of heart and soul, “Room to Dream” is not only the foundation of the album, but also the inspiration we all need, reminding us to never stop chasing our dreams because“every wish has got a star to hang on.”

  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

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"MADD" Manda Walsh
Chicago native and Saint Xavier University alum (class of 2007), Amanda Walsh is an aspiring journalist with a strong passion for music and longtime love of writing. While in college, she spent her time volunteering as a radio DJ, working as the station’s Music Director, and serving as a regular contributing writer for the campus newspaper where she combined her love for music and writing. Between attending multiple concerts a month all over the city, interviewing various bands both in and out of the studio, and introducing her friends and show listeners to new artists (both local and national acts), it was during this time that Amanda really discovered her niche. Whether listening alone with her headphones or experiencing it live in person, music has always been Amanda’s safe haven and more like a religion, with concerts feeling more like going to church. Today the number of artist interviews under her belt continues to grow, as she strives to break new and up and coming artists before other outlets. She also continues to attend as many concerts as her bank account will allow. Her musical tastes range from “OMG you have to hear this” to “please don’t judge me,” and she is the person you want on your team in music trivia. She is also an avid enthusiast of the paranormal and anything in the realm of horror or the creepy and unnerving. With that said, she loves Halloween more than a normal person probably should and has a fascination with cemeteries. Aside from music and concerts, Amanda also enjoys reading, shopping and epic adventures. She's a sucker for a good mystery and anything acoustic. When she was a kid she wanted to be Nancy Drew when she grew up. At the end of the day, if she had to describe herself with a song lyric it would be this – “I’m somewhere in between what is real and just a dream.”
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