11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Ryan Culwell

Ryan Culwell

Like I have said before, it often seems that it’s raining new music with just so much more available than anyone can humanly listen to. This week’s onslaught of Americanafest on Nashville is a prime example of that fact. Of all the music coming to town this week, I hope you took notice of Ryan Culwell. He’s an artist I suspect that most Americana fans will welcome into their world.

Hearing the Texas transplant’s just-released third album, “The Last American” on Missing Piece Records, it will only take the first track, “Can You Hear Me” for you to put this guy on your musical radar. All serious Springsteen fans like me will have already heard his great cover of “Bobby Jean” on the 2015 “Dead Man’s Town” compilation. That same year, his “Flatlands” album received high marks from both Rolling Stone and Mojo. Similar praise for his latest release will be forthcoming.

 I was thrilled that Ryan took the time during this busy week to tackle these 11 Questions. He’ll be at The 5 Spot Friday night at Midnight. Be there so one day you won’t regret not having been there!


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I grew up in Perryton, a small town north of Amarillo, Texas. I left the Texas Panhandle for Nashville around 2010. I had originally planned on staying in Texas, but one day I sat down outside by a lake and was praying about moving to Austin when a snake slithered across my feet. I quickly changed my plans. True story.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

In 1991, the school was taking us on a field trip from our small town to the big city of Amarillo. After the educational part of the trip, they took us to the Westgate Mall to get lunch. I used my lunch money to buy Guns N’ Roses “Don’t Cry” single on cassette. I was going to buy MC Hammer’s new single, but my brother threatened to kill me if I didn’t get the new GNR. That’s how my rap career ended. And I recently bought American Aquarium’s anniversary yellow/red double vinyl of Burn. Flicker. Die.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

Carmen was my first concert. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6…. some of ya’ll know what I’m talking about. My most recent concert was Ben Danaher’s album release party. Great artist. Also, my daughter is playing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” in the other room as I answer these questions.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

We could probably squeeze in Bob Dylan between Trace Adkins and Little Big Town. Maybe his star is too big though, I don’t know.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Five Points Pizza for a slice, but I quit paying for coffee a long time ago because I think it’s a Ponzi scheme.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Blonde on Blonde was recorded mostly in Nashville. Can’t beat that.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

M.L. Rose on 8th for beer and fries.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you. 

Aaron Lee Tasjan, Megan McCormick, Carey Ott. But, ask me again tomorrow and it would all be different. Aubrie Sellers, Andrew Combs, Caroline Spence. How about Neilson Hubbard, Anthony DaCosta, Kelsey Waldon? So many great writers here.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

The Basement (original) and the Station Inn.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

I thought we were full, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Ray Wylie Hubbard kicking around reminding us of what matters.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

In the near future, thousands of miles to support my new album, The Last American. In the long term, I’d like to rhyme less and say more.



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