Well-travelled musician lays down old-time country CD

Cover art for Hank Ryder’s CD, My Autumn Kettle. Natali Bravo Photo

When Hank Ryder (aka Tyler Brandon) hosts his first CD release party it will also celebrate a surprising array of contributing musicians and singers.

Hank, who prefers to use his music world nickname, wrote all the songs for My Autumn Kettle and is the main vocalist. But at least six other singers collaborated and are credited on the inside jacket.

They include well-known talent like Jen Brace, Anna Miccolis and Adam Miner, who also contributed guitar, piano, pump organ, bantar, drums, percussion, as well as recording, producing, mixing and mastering in his Sarnia studio.

“Adam is a great guy,” says Hank.  “I plan to continue to make music here and hope to work with him again.

“I am blown away by the creativity and talent in Sarnia.”

He and Miner added a long list of local musicians to play everything from piano and violin to accordion and mandolin on the nine tracks. Many of them will be at the release party.

Hank’s first CD is an ambitious project nearly 15 years in the making.

He grew up in Courtright and graduated from SCITS. At high school he began writing lyrics and was a drummer in a band. While other kids were listening to Eminem he was into Hank Williams, which is how he earned the nickname.

“The name sounds a bit country but I’m not a big new country fan, (I like) just the old stuff like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash,” he said.

“When I write, I’m mostly into folk music mixed with the old country. This first CD is more folk and bluegrass.”

He was shy in high school and that got in the way of performing, Hank said.

At 19 and just out of SCITS, he bought his first guitar and headed west.

“I literally wanted to go see the world,” he said. “I went to Vancouver on a Greyhound bus with $500 in my pocket.”

He picked up odd jobs and taught himself to play simple chords. Soon he was busking and finally performed for the first time at a café in Nelson, B.C.

“I just knew I needed to overcome my stage fright,” he said.

With support from family and friends, his confidence grew. Most of the time, he played original material.

“I consider myself a writer and poet first,” he said. “The words are the most important to me. I just learned to play the guitar so I can write.”

For the next 10 years he travelled Canada, playing small venues and paying the bills by picking fruit, roofing and other odd jobs.

Eventually, though, the nomadic life lost its appeal. Hank returned to live in Corunna and joined a couple of unions, where he has steady work.

But music never lost its importance.

At 35, he continues to play local bars and has a “backpack” of new material he wants to work on once the new CD is out.

“I need to give the older ones to the world and let them go so I can get on with the new ones,” he said.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: CD release party for Hank Ryder’s My Autumn Kettle, with opening acts Cameron Starr and Ezio DeSantis.

WHERE:  TheStory, 179 Christina St. N.

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 18. Doors open 7 p.m.

TICKETS: $10 at the door.