High Risk, Low Reward
In 2007 The Tupelo Mississippi based Homemade Jamz Blues Band, comprised of sixteen-year-old guitarist Ryan Perry and his two younger siblings, fourteen-year-old bassist Kyle, and their nine-year-old sister Taya on drums; came in second place at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The following December they became the youngest blues band in history to receive a recording contract. Their 2008 album on Northern Blues Music captured the hearts of blues fans everywhere. They played festivals and concerts across the U.S. and Europe and followed up with three more albums.
Now in his late twenties, more than a decade later, Perry just released his solo debut on The Ruf Records imprint. Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Perry states “I learned more about life and the world while playing blues all over than I ever could in school, and that knowledge has made me grow up faster, something I’m thankful for”. But he adds “this album was the hardest thing I’ve done”.
The eleven tracks were recorded in Berlin, Germany at the Studio Erde in December 2019. Included are eight Perry originals. Perry, guitar and vocals; is accompanied by Producer Roger Inniss on bass; and drummer Lucy Piper. Backing vocalists Jeffrey Staten and Stefanie Bechtold add the finishing touches.
Perry opens with the heartfelt “Ain’t Afraid To Eat Alone” with its extended guitar intro, “I know what I bring to the table so I ain’t afraid to eat alone”. As he tells us the story about some other guy moving in with his girlfriend. “Homesick” is a funky bit of pondering whether to stay or leave. “Pride” is another relationship song about swallowing one’s pride before the woman he loves leaves him. The title track “High Risk, Low Reward” continues the same theme. “Changing Blues” is a tribute to the genre and how the music has evolved through the years. These are well written songs as Perry proves himself a soulful vocalist.
Covers include “Why I Sing The Blues” written and first recorded by B.B. King in 1969; and the fantastic newly re-arranged “Evil Is Going On” a.k.a. “Evil” written by Willie Dixon and first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1954. “Oh No” appears to be a new song from Wilson Blount a.k.a. Big Daddy Wilson.
This impressive debut from Ryan Perry is proof that this young man will be around for years to come.