Ryan Michael Richards started playing guitar at 14 and was influenced by artists on Will Ackerman’s Windham Hill label like Ackerman himself and Alex De Grassi. The acoustic guitar performances of the EP More Than Time, echo those influences in a most profound and appealing way.
I enjoyed all of that Windham Music myself back in the early 90s so have some familiarity with the artists he references on his bio and in his approach and style. For this listen that is a door I willing walked through without any hesitation. Not to say I knew exactly what to expect but had some idea.
The five tracks on the EP are beautifully presented with Ryan Michael’s precision acoustic guitar playing.
“Moving Forward” starts off the proceedings with a warm introduction to the acoustic bliss you are going to experience from beginning to end. A little over 3 minutes gets the atmosphere set with some very nice and infectious notes. The sound of one man playing acoustic guitar and sounding like two is an amazing thing to hear. I most certainly appreciated his abilities straight away and anticipated more of the same.
“At Your Leisure” continues with the relaxing ambiance and the exquisite addition of Premik Russell Tubbs (Lyricon) and Michael Manring (Bass). The additional instrumentation is added layers of serenity that are easily created by the joining of all three instruments. Ryan’s guitar permeates the track and invites the other sounds to intermingle with his acoustic guitar like it was simply meant to be. In case anyone was wondering, the Lyricon is an electronic wind instrument that sounds similar to a flute. The track is the longest on the EP clocking in at 5:18. It was my favorite track.
Charlie Bisharat (violin) and Jill Haley (English Horn) join Ryan on “May I Have This Dance.” The title is very insightful into the question being asked of a prospective dance partner. I think what brings that element out more than ever is Charlie’s violin. It sounds elegant and with the appropriate addition of Jill’s English Horn, the track takes on a very majestic aspect, like watching the King and Queen dancing in the ballroom to start the coronation of the new prince in the castle.
“Friday At Five” is quite different than all the other tracks. It has a distinctly different rhythm to it, as all the others do, however, this one caught my ear as a different style of picking than what I heard previously. It is very purposeful and succinct but once you hear it, it definitely feels like a step away from the flow you heard prior.
“Timeless” which is the second-longest track at 4:01, closes out the EP. Premik returns to play but this time a lovely “quiet storm” saxophone gives the track a nice acoustic new age jazz feel. This I absolutely love and have appreciated for many years now. The interface of the genres, Ryan’s beautiful playing, and Premik’s lovely sax make this one a real gem and superb way to close out the album.
Although More Than Time is a brief excursion of acoustic ear candy, it is enough to satisfy any musical palette. It was done well by all involved including the unbeatable production team of Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton.
So, grab your favorite comfy chair, pop in the CD “At Your Leisure” and enjoy every second offered on More Than Time. I know I did.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
June 2, 2021
1. Moving Forward
2. At Your Leisure
3. May I Have This Dance
4. Friday At Five