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“I had a dream that I died unexpectedly,” he begins, “right around the time the record was being mixed. And I woke up laughing because, in the dream, as I was dying, the only thing I was thinking about was, ‘Oh, shit. What if no one gets to hear this music?’”
As fruitless as the stress-induced fever dreams of Ryan Courtney (otherwise known as Trenton) turned out to be, they were only a manifestation of what really drives him to write material in the first place: the desire to help others cope through music. And considering the Nashville songwriter’s rough past, the motive is only natural.
“I’ve been through a lot of darkness,” he muses. “I think it’s safe to say I’ve been through more darkness than most 27 year old suburban-raised guys, yet I’ve somehow come out of it all still thankful for the things I’ve experienced. Music has helped heal me in so many different ways. I just want to be able to make songs that do the same for other people.”
While Courtney’s two previous albums, Reasoning in Doubt (2010) and Dreamers (2013), earned him big name notoriety through lucrative television placement, his old material was always skimming the surface of a deeper emotion and maturity waiting to be reconciled.
“It was just time to make a grown up record,” he admits. “I eventually got to the point where I realized that I could write songs that were a true and honest outpouring of where I was in life while still making an album that wasn’t completely hopeless and dark.”
And with his new EP, Ghost Runner, Courtney did just that. Sparkling synths and lush, cinematic instrumentation play over heavy lyricism that masks melancholy with hope in a sound that is equally contemplative and blissful.
Produced by Joshua D. Niles (Leagues, The Apache Relay), the 6-song EP has drawn comparisons to both Rufus Wainwright and M83 for Courtney’s emotive vocals and vibey synth arrangements.
“This album was two years in the making,” Courtney finishes. “I’m just relieved that it finally gets to serve its purpose.”
As for the stress dreams? They’ll stop when Ghost Runner is released on August 18th