The bluegrass world noticed Ryan in the first half of the aughts when he took home trophies from the Merlefest, Renofest and Rocky Grass banjo competitions. He released an album of original bluegrass instrumentals, Songs For The New Frontier, in 2008, but much of his interest this past few years has been dedicated to his explorations of contemporary jazz using the five string banjo.
Ryan spent a number of years touring with saxman Bill Evans’ Soulgrass band, and has released a self-titled EP with his own group, Ryan Cavanaugh & No Man’s Land. The album features Kevin Knapp on electric bass, Tyson Rogers on keyboards and Bryon Larrance on drums, with Ryan on both acoustic and electric banjo. Evans guests on tenor and soprano sax.
The Kickstarter campaign is meant to raise money for tour publicity and transportation needs as Cavanaugh and his quartet look to embark on a US tour. He will be accompanied by Knapp, Rogers and Larrance, and plans to use a number of guest saxophonists on the road.
If you would like to see this tour come to pass, you can make a cash pledge towards the goal of $6500 in seed money. A number of donation premiums are offered, including a private house concert for a pledge of $2000.
You can check out the No Man’s Land CD in iTunes.
Even while the Kickstarer campaign is underway, Ryan is off this weekend to tour Ukraine with Evans. He is also scheduled for a profile this summer in Banjo NewsLetter, written by Ned Luberecki.
Here’s a look at No Man’s Land, and how Cavanaugh uses the banjo in the jazz realm. The tune is Grand Dragon, from the new band CD.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBJnh1owjKI