"I know what you're thinking - 'another guy with an acoustic guitar. We've seen it before.' But just give me a stage and a moment of your time. I promise you won't regret it. I'm not just a singer/songwriter. I'm an entertainer. My job is to make sure you have a good time. And if I do my job right, this is a show you won't forget. Let's have some fun!" - Ryan Harmon
Drawing from musical influences like Travis Tritt, Ray Charles and Bob Seger, and lyrical influences like Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson and Roger Miller, Ryan Harmon carries on the long tradition of "three chords and the truth." Combined with a commanding stage presence and fun, lively performances, Harmon seeks to push the boundaries of what a solo acoustic act can be.
Though commonly categorized as country music, Harmon's music more specifically fits Americana, a sub-genre of country. He describes Americana by saying "You can put Hank Williams, Bob Seger, Ray Charles and Bill Monroe all in the same room, and it makes perfect sense."
Playing on and off with local musicians, Harmon started performing at age 12. Just two years later, Harmon began performing as a solo artist, and writing his own music. His first solo performance was at the 2009 Arkansas Oklahoma State Fair in Fort Smith, one year after being a Top 20 finalist in the 5News Youth Talent Contest as a solo electric guitarist.
After moving from electric guitar to acoustic guitar years later, Harmon was able to further shape his sound, bringing in the acoustic-driven influences of bluegrass and delta blues music. With the final piece of the puzzle in place, a challenge remained: How can you keep from being just another guy with an acoustic guitar?
The answer came in October 2013, after attending a workshop conducted by legendary guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel. Emmanuel, a solo acoustic player, has been quoted as saying "If you want a big crowd, make a big sound." Taking that quote to heart, Harmon began to approach his live performances with the same passion and energy as an arena band.
Through requests, unique song arrangements and spontaneous setlist changes, no two shows are the same. "I'm here to play for you. I've learned that time is something you can never get back. So if you decide to spend your time seeing me perform, I owe you a good show, and I won't settle for anything less," Harmon said.
Harmon's performing style has allowed him to play for a wide range of audiences, from hard rock to modern country, including a recent opening slot for country star, Drake White.
In 2017, Harmon released his self-titled, debut album. Taking all modern production standards and throwing them out the window, Harmon created a stripped-down, low-fi recording that allows the songs to stand on their own, good or bad.
"I hear so much stuff where it seems like they put more focus on the production than the song. I love listening to old Hank Williams or Robert Johnson records where the word 'production' didn't even come into it. Press the 'record' button, and off you go! Get a performance of the song and that's it," Harmon said.
From the rocking, early Johnny Cash influenced "Hold On Sally," to the powerful "Ride The Wind," and the emotional "Find Your Heart," Harmon's songwriting focuses on real life and real people.
One of the album's more prominent songs, the humorous, yet true, anthemic country heartbreak "You Left, My Dog Died, and My Heart Did Too," was featured on an NPR Music playlist of dog-themed songs in January 2018.
In 2019, Harmon is continuing that same style of writing, with new music coming soon.
"It doesn't matter if it's a love song, a sad song, a funny song, etc. Life throws all of those different emotions at us. As long as people can relate to it and enjoy it, I feel like I've done my job."