Bob Rylett / Blog

As Artists, in the 21st Century

As Artists, in the 21st Century I will not mention any names. Good or bad. This isn't a call-out thread. No. What I hope to convey is what little insight I have accumulated over my now multiple decades of performing, writing, recording and creating in this "New World Order" of things. And it truly is a new world.

I like to consider myself an observer. I listen to non-commercial songwriters, music and musicians. I hungrily soak in the different visual works of art and the artists who create them, sparkling through the countless pages of the Internet. There is so much magic out there that I am left both humbled and encouraged.

I have, through the years, frequently been asked, "Why do you continue writing and recording when you are not making any money?" Many times it is with this sad tone, a certain pity, as if to say, "If your art isn't in the mainstream, being commercialized, etc, etc... then it isn't really real." I want to reply, Why must you be spoon-fed and told what to like? Have you no mind of your own? Yet, alas, my answer to this question has always been the same: I have no choice. I must create, continue and persevere, so to speak. I have been fortunate enough to make just enough to allow me to do one more record, to write one more song. And that is good enough for me.

When I was just getting a foothold on my writing, and began releasing albums, I was approached a few times by different people. They would tell me that, if I wanted to "make it" in this "business," I should listen to the radio and imitate what I was hearing. That never computed for me. First of all, I could hardly stand two minutes of listening to the radio, or watching videos for that matter. There were only a handful of "artists" being played and none of them spoke to me. Again, I am not naming names here. You know of whom I speak. The same goes for "Hollyweird" movies, which, in this day and age, have become so low-brow and dumbed down that I can count the number I watch in a given year, on one hand. I am not speaking of the many independent films and filmmakers, or even of the many foreign films that actually speak to us as an intelligent audience, with respect and honest candor. Also, I watch no network tv. None. Though I do enjoy some of the cable series that have now become almost "must see." Many of them are so brilliantly conceived, written, acted, filmed and edited that they give us insight and force us to think and re-invent ourselves. These receive a certain leeway, in both their subject mater and the way they tell their stories. Hopefully, they will remain uncensored and free to evolve, while still being thrust out into the ever-narrowing spotlight the media so ham-fistedly controls. And do not get me started on "reality tv." Ten seconds of that makes me want to give up and get off this planet.

For the many people I have met, and genuinely connected with (you know who you are), please, continue your creating. Honestly, I receive such encouragement, such inspiration, and such hungry enthusiasm that my fire remains stoked. My road narrow, yet straight. I thank you all for that. It is invaluable.

So, again, why continue conceiving, writing, creating, recording, publishing, painting, drawing, etc, etc? It's simple, really. You never know when your art is going to touch that soul, no matter how directly or indirectly, nor to what degree, changing his or her respective world. And that is good enough for me.

Crash n Recovery
Crash n Recovery  (almost 3 years ago)

Your words are so true Bob! That is really what it's all about. I try to stay true to myself and act from that fire within at all times even though it can be incredibly challenging at times. But keep walking your path man and I'll continue to do the same for this is what makes our heart beat and gives our spirits wings and let see what comes out of all of this!

Amazing couple of weeks

Couple of things. We finished the Spanish version of "Time to Heal" entitled "TIEMPO DE SANAR" It was performed and translated by the incomparable Luis Gutierrez. Please give it a listen. Also we shot a video for "On a Delicate moon" this weekend. It was an amazing experience with a talented crew and tremendous support. I will have a list of names shortly. Cast and crew. Greg Melanson Director Chris Rogers Producer Sinead O'Flynn lead actress Josh King lead actor Max Krewiak Director of Photography Travis Hansen DOP assistant Yared Beyene 2nd Camera Carolina Siulin Sylist Miko Wu lead makeup Mia Wang Makeup Gita Dunn Pa Photography Mari Omae Pa

Background performers Emily Case, Patrick Parrotta, Claire Nelson, Shawn Mitz, Reese Motzek, Gary A. Bigger, Wyatt Lincoln, Tyler Peerless, Vicky Theriault, Christine Bissonnette

Four years ago today..."Wings of a Rusty Soul"

Bob Rylett landed at my door carrying a guitar and a small tornado of songs. He’d been hounding the big dream from town to town, working bars and small cafes, playing whatever people want to hear. Regular juke-box with a smile. Picking up gigs any stop in between for fifty bucks and a burger. Sleeping in the car. Pushing on down the road. Coast to coast and back again. BC mountains to the Florida Keys. All those white lines and a life of reading signs.

Every day he writes a new song. Disciplined, determined, and prolific. Has a whole overflowing head-full of original material that bites. Watched him do his job on an unsuspecting crowd at a joint on Main Street where he took everyone prisoner. Though it’s always tough to reach out and hold an audience with stuff they haven’t already heard before, this is what he does for a living. They never really stood a chance. Somewhere in amongst the surprise of songs comes a version of Paul Simon’s ‘The Boxer’ but delivered with a rough authentic urgency absent from the original. It becomes pure autobiography: the troubador staying on his feet, standing his ground, fearless. All business, he punches out one number after another. With hooks in all the right places. Working a sweat and working the crowd. For all the determined world like it’s still fifty bucks and a burger and a long way home.

Things turned out much the same when I took him into the studio. The intention was simply to run a few takes of songs so we could see what we liked and figure out what to do with it. But he got right down to work just as soon as engineer Rick Salt finished setting him up in a booth. No messin’ and no stopping. No repeats and no second tries. Just one song after another. That’s what he does. That’s how he works. That’s what we captured. Twenty songs in sixty-five minutes. It’s a record. Colin Lazzerini, RootCellar Records

The soon-to-be-released CD will be called “Wings Of A Rusty Soul”.


"Every once in a while an artist emerges who makes music for its own sake and, thankfully, shares it with the rest of us. And when it's good, you listen — and listen again. Independent, unexpected, talented and relevant, Bob Rylett is one of these artists. A writer for our troubled times, Bob is a skilled storyteller — observant, insightful, witty, engaging — artfully narrating and singing to life unvarnished tales of pain and pleasure, confusion and clarity. With a sympathy and generosity of spirit one seldom encounters, Bob writes songs that reveal our strengths and weaknesses and capture our grit and determination. Whether illuminating the mundane or the mystical, each song issues its own gentle invitation to see and embrace ourselves, and each other, as we really are: human and fallible, but very much connected, powerful and capable of change. And whether he's writing sensitively about love and loss — or passionately about power and protest — Bob's understanding of the human condition is as deep and clear as his exploration is bold. As you hear survivors, fools, children and warriors speak, you will appreciate Bob’s candid portrayals and subversive social commentary — along with his signature ‘tongue-twisty’ turn of phrase. You will also sense an implicit optimism, distinctive and unwavering, running through his body of work. Look forward to being entertained, enlightened, cajoled and thinking real thoughts when you listen to Bob Rylett: every tune is a guaranteed lyrical and melodic innovation." (Ramona Das)

Karma Wash
Karma Wash  (over 4 years ago)

Amen. Bob's got the goods! And after what you posted, Ramona, there can be little for me to add. I guess except, always a highly creative and loving experience to work with him. Amen