Ryan Lerman is a man of many hats. As an instrumentalist, he spent his 20s touring the world as a bassist for Ben Folds, guitarist for Michael Buble, and string arranger/musical director for John Legend. As a songwriter, his compositions have been recorded by Vulfpeck, Buble, and others. As a scene builder, he's one half of the creative team behind YouTube sensations Scary Pockets and ‘stories’. And when it comes to actual hats (as in, the ones you wear on your head) he owns a lot of them. As his former roommate, I would know.
Lerman's songwriting unrelentingly seeks the impassioned marriage of melody and harmony, and on his new album, "Noisy Feelings," it could not be a more perfect union. The songs on "Noisy Feelings," remind us of a time when lyrics were clever, harmony was adventurous, and melody was king; The Beach Boys were influencing The Beatles, Newman was influencing Nilsson; the songwriting Space-Race was at it's peak, and each album was it's own version of the moon landing.
Sonically, Lerman is an explorer, never afraid to throw a piano down a flight of stairs, dunk a wurlitzer in a sensory deprivation tank, or hit a guitar like it's a piece of mallet percussion. The recordings feel distinct and touchable without losing a sense of intrigue and possibility.
Lerman is not flashy; he's a craftsman. This album has no "angle": it's an opus. From stark acoustic intimacy to lush orchestral density, Lerman sings of romantic misfirings, existential musings, and wistful daydreaming, all with a longing that lands the listener squarely in that special space between joy and sadness.
My favorite place to be.