sound check

By Michael Swanger

Matthew Ryan
“Dear Lover”
The Dear Future Collective

Comparing a young artist to more famous ones can be a recipe for disaster if you’re not sincere. Over-reach in drawing a comparison to attract readers, like so many music writers do, and you risk setting up the reader, the artist and yourself for disappointment. But after having listened to Matthew Ryan’s new album, “Dear Lover,” I think that he is in the canon of Dylan (Jakob, not Bob), Steve Earle and Jeff Tweedy. His Americana/alt-rock sound on songs like “City Life,” “Some Streets Lead Nowhere” and “The End of a Ghost Story” is unspoiled and his interpersonal lyrics, inspired by a night spent worrying about a loved one in the ER, can be interpreted in many ways depending on the context in which you listen to them. CV

(Matthew Ryan opens for Cowboy Mouth on Wednesday, April 14 at 8 p.m. at the Vaudeville Mews. $15.)


Ian McFeron
“Love Me Blue”
Independent release

Young Seattle-based singer-songwriter Ian McFeron sets his folksy, indie-rock sound into motion with the help of a tight, yet spacious, backing band (including strings) on his latest independent album, “Love Me Blue.” Lyrically and sonically, “Love Me Blue” is sufficient as McFeron pours his heart into 12 smooth original songs like “More Than Love,” “Life Goes On” and “Sunlight” that somewhat appeal to a listener’s tender side. But the truth is, unless you’re a fan of nasally, high-pitched pop singers like Dave Matthews, chances are you might have a hard time getting over McFeron’s voice as I did. From his timbre, which sounds forced, to his overly deliberate articulation (which reminds me of Jimmy Fallon’s impersonation of Barry Gibb), McFeron’s vocals are ineffective, save for a few moments on some of the lighter ballads. CV

(Ian McFeron and Alisa Milner perform Sunday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at Mars Café.)

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