“One of the hardest-working singer/songwriters on the local scene” – The Akron Beacon Journal
Drawing influence from musical greats like Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello, Ryan Humbert’s songs mix the honesty and lyricism of roots music with the inventive, infectious arrangements of rock and pop.
Having performed with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Train, Elvis Costello, Chris Isaak, Third Eye Blind, Matt Nathanson, Pete Yorn, Foreigner, The Zac Brown Band, Josh Ritter, Shelby Lynne, The Gin Blossoms and more, his unique style of American/Pop transcends barriers of genre and time, making his music as much at home in the 21st century as it would be in the classic rock era.
Hailing from the Akron-Canton area of Ohio, Ryan’s energetic, crowd-pleasing shows and loyal fan base have made him a local music staple for over a decade at such notable venues as Playhouse Square, Blossom Music Center, The House of Blues, The Beachland Ballroom, Scene Pavilion at Nautica, The Akron Civic Theatre, The Canton Palace Theatre, The Kent Stage, The Tangier, Lock 3 Live and more. The Cleveland Free Times claimed “Humbert is a dynamo…eager and rapid-fire…a catalyst for and enthusiastic supporter of the Ohio music scene.”
His recent releases, though, have propelled him to recognition on a national level as well. In 2009, Ryan released Old Souls, New Shoes, an independent, fan-funded pop/rock album recorded in Nashville, featuring members of Third Eye Blind, The Counting Crows, The Black Crowes and more.
The follow-up, 2012’s folk-laced pop album Sometimes the Game Plays You, has been in heavy rotation on “The Coffee House” on Sirius XM Radio with the song “I Will Find My Own Way.” While on tour supporting that album, he recorded a 5-song in-studio performance at the Sirius XM studios in New York City. Sometimes The Game Plays You features musicians who have played with Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Cash, Robert Plant, John Mellencamp, Patty Griffin, and Lucinda Williams as well as members of his own band.
Most recently, Ryan’s new album, Half Way Home, will be released in November 2014. Combining the rock influence of Old Souls with Sometimes the Game Plays You’s singer/songwriter flavor, the album was recorded in just six days in Nashville, TN.
The album features some of Ryan’s most personal writing to date. The title song, an upbeat track about overcoming obstacles, was inspired by his mother’s recent battle with breast cancer, while “California to Ohio,” co-written with Grammy-winner Kim Richey, tells the story of his grandfather’s odyssey from Camp Pendleton, California to Hartville, Ohio to meet his first child in February, 1953. Ryan also co-wrote five of the songs with fellow Ohio musician Tracey Thomas, including the album-closing “Space Enough,” which features the legendary McCrary sisters (Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Buddy Miller, Stevie Wonder) on backing vocals.
“When I was young, I never knew I would end up being a singer or songwriter,” Humbert says. He would often peruse his father’s extensive CD collection, test-spinning albums by Waylon Jennings, Bob Seger, and Neil Young. “I didn’t find my niche though until I listened to Americana artists like Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen, and Lucinda Williams,” Humbert says. “That’s the music that truly inspired me, but still I listen to everything from George Jones to Arcade Fire. I’m just drawn to hooks. I’ve bought records by The Clash and Patsy Cline at the same time.”
Humbert attended the Pittsburgh Art Institute and graduated with a graphic arts degree. He worked in promotions for the National Gallery of American’s Young Inventors and was the Development Director for the Akron Triple-A radio station 91.3 The Summit FM, where he created the station’s logo and helped boost membership numbers. In addition, he has also produced for many local Ohio artists, the most notable being singer Tracey Thomas, onetime singer of the Akron ‘80s new wave sensation Unit 5. Humbert’s savvy marketing approach, his networking skills, and his sincere commitment to his charity work have bolstered his music profile in an honest, fluid, and very natural way.