THE BEGINNING AND THE END is the ninth album from Ry Welch (including two as frontman for the band Fearless), and his first in 12 years. The 13 Alternative and Neo-Traditional Country songs that comprise the new album reflect his Texas roots; Ry having been born in Austin to two native Texans, and having listened to lots of popular Country music as a youngster. On THE BEGINNING AND THE END, Ry has taken this classic approach to songwriting and arranging and updated it with all his many influences to create the unique and modern sound that defines him. Featuring Ry Welch on all instruments and voices (and with the late Michael Kessler on piano for “Full Moon”), THE BEGINNING AND THE END delivers memorable and powerful songs that connect with the moments and memories in his life and in those of his generation.
Ry Welch was born in Austin, Texas in 1971, and moved to Northern Virginia in 1972. There he grew up and went to High School, and attended a semester of college at Virginia Commonwealth University as a stand-up bass major. At the age of 5, Ry began piano, voice and clarinet lessons, and soon started composing his own pieces and songs. In high school he formed his first band, serving as bassist, back-up and lead vocalist, music director and sound and recording engineer. The band performed classic and popular rock covers and a few originals, with Ry writing some of his first rock songs.
After his semester at VCU studying jazz and classical bass, and then performing jazz in the DC area as a sideman- and also fronting the trio Fearless- Ry transferred to New England Conservatory- the nation’s oldest music school, in Boston- to study Classical Composition. There he broadened his experience in contemporary classical, electronic, microtonal and world music while also performing with the Conservatory’s jazz and vocal ensembles. His tenure was highlighted by interactions with visiting musical luminaries such as John Cage, Cecil Taylor, Milton Babbitt (the mentor of Ry’s instructor Robert Ceely), Hariprisad Chaurasia, Elliott Carter, Tim Berne and many others; as well as with faculty members including Robert Ceely, Joe Maneri, Ran Blake, Robert Labaree and Hankus Netsky.
After graduating from NEC with a Bachelor’s in Classical Composition (1994), Ry returned to Virginia to live in Charlottesville, home of UVA. There he became a member of regional jam band Sass Troubadour, who performed frequently throughout Virginia and the surrounding states at small and mid-sized venues as well as at very lucrative fraternity parties. During this time, Ry re-united with Fearless to record their first album, the punk-jazz experimental onslaught entitled “Rapidly Approaching Zen”, engineered by Sass Troubadour guitarist Jamal Millner and recorded on equipment loaned by the Dave Matthews Band. Each composition on the record was improvised and recorded in one take, with overdubs occurring during the session and at later sessions in NYC.
Beckoned by Fearless guitarist Scott Denett (who once had given a 15 year-old Ry his first guitar lesson), Ry moved to New York City in the Fall of ’96. There he became a staff writer at a jingle house, composing music for radio and television advertising and branding campaigns (winning several national awards), and devoted all available time to writing, recording and producing original songs for himself as an artist, as well as producing and engineering Rock and HipHop artists including T.O.N.E-z and Arlan Feiles. There also, he reunited again with Fearless (Ry Welch- bass, vocals, Scott Denett- guitar, Davis Douglas- drums) to record and release their second album, “Panic Immediately!”, a collection of post pop/punk, and to perform this new material in bars throughout the city. In 1999 Ry married Amy Jean Meier at the Brooklyn Courthouse, and in the Spring of 2000 they moved to Austin, Texas.
In Austin Ry formed his group Rock Stardom and the Fashion Jerks, with Ry on guitar and vocals performing his original Rock, Country, Blues, HipHop and Reggae. He also completed and released his first album, the self-titled “Rock Stardom” (“Mr. Rock Stardom” was Ry’s high school nickname, a friend’s teasing reference to Ron Howard’s first film, the obscure made-for-tv Cotton Candy, 1978). Initial production and recording of the EP “Everything Is Gonna Change” with David Levy on drums was completed, co-produced by the legendary recluse Jack Lee (leader of the late 70s seminal LA punk act The Nerves, and writer of the hit songs “Hangin’ on the Telephone” (Blondie) and “Come Back and Stay” (Paul Young).
Ry met Jack Lee outside the Austin Convention Center during SXSW 2003; Jack introduced himself while bumming a cigarette. Ry’s wife Amy’s favorite song at the time- quite serendipitously- was “Will Anything Happen?”, the song Jack penned for Blondie- bursting into the recording studio to play it for them as they were recording a cover of his “Hangin’ on the Telephone”- so Ry new who Jack Lee was, and the great genius for songwriting his work shows. They struck up a friendship immediately, and Jack stayed the remainder of SXSW at Ry and Amy’s home, working with Ry on perfecting his songs and refining his craft- asking nothing in return but a place to sleep. Upon Jack’s invitation, Ry soon travelled to LA to visit Jack in North Hollywood, where Jack lived in an old motel that had been rented as apartments, with one room converted into a recording studio. That Summer of 2003, Ry and Amy relocated to Los Angeles, where they have lived since. In 2007, they gave birth to their only child, Henry.
Shortly after relocating to LA Ry completed and released his EP Everything Is Gonna Change, and worked as an assistant to Emmy Award-winning composer Sean Callery on the Fox show “24”. Early on, Ry met C. Derrick Jones and Nehara Kalev, members of LA’s Contemporary Dance scene and alumni of Diavolo, one of its most prominent companies. Derrick and Nehara were staging their first team production- which was also their wedding- for the Wilshire Ebell Theater, and were looking for a composer. Ry went on to score three further productions with Catch Me Bird Dance Theater in the coming years, the second at The Ford Amphitheatre, the third at UCLA, and the fourth again at the Ford. Ry released soundtrack albums for each production (“The Wedding Journey” series), that includes each shows instrumental scoring pieces and songs. Ry also became a member of the scoring team for the network series “Power Rangers”, scoring much of the 2007-2008 season “Operation Overdrive” and the 2008-2009 season “Jungle Fury”. Ry combined his knowledge and experience in orchestral music, speed metal, and world music to go beyond what is anticipated for a show like “Power Rangers”, employing live vocals, percussion, guitars, and various ethnic and other instruments to create scoring worthy of a big-budget feature. Ry has also scored a few feature films and shorts.
In LA, Ry has produced various Rock, Singer/Songwriter and HipHop artists, while continuing to work on his own material as an artist- much of which appears on the newly-released THE BEGINNING AND THE END (2022). Within two weeks of completing the album, Ry finished “Steel Bridges”, the first track slated for his next album. More intensely progressive cuts like “Steel Bridges” are underway that will explode any boundaries not crossed in THE BEGINNING AND THE END, with music and lyrics that will delve still deeper and more fully into Ry Welch’s expansive and uninhibited creative vision.