Think of one male artist who sings Kelsea Ballerini’s “Dibs” and sees cringes from guys in the audience…
Enter: Ryan Griffin.
No, it’s not because he’s has a bad voice (heck, he’s got some killer vocals!), but it’s just awkward to hear a guy singing about “calling dibs on your lips, kiss and time, hand and heart.”
That’s just one funny story he’s shared from his time touring across the country.
Earlier in March, Ryan released his debut EP, Sake of the Summer“. Since then, the newest Sirius XM The Highway “Highway Find” artist has the town talking about the incredible music he’s put out.
While the singer-songwriter’s highest accolade so far is the #1 song he co-wrote with Kelsea, Josh Kerr and Jason Duke, I’d argue that the “Sake of the Summer” EP is possibly his best work yet, and worthy of all the praises a newcomer can get.
1. “Backseats and Burnt CDs“:
Kicking the “jam session” off is his lead single. When this track hits the chorus, you’ll find yourself bobbing your head (not too excessively though haha!) to its infectious chorus, fully reminiscent of the 90s and early 2000s, when young love was on fire and burning your favorite songs into a CD was the trendy thing to do. For us 80/90s kids, this is a lyrical throwback to the good ole youthful days.
3 chords & the truth: “it was nothing but a teenage dream, never thought we’d leave backseats & burnt CDs.”
2. “Woulda Left Me Too“:
This track found its way to the Spotify Viral 50 All-Genre list and is proving to be a fan-favorite. Embracing self-pity and shame, Ryan is completely vulnerable on this track as he ruminates over a relationship long gone and how even he wouldn’t have given himself a second chance.
3 chords & the truth: “I deserve every single tear I cry for hurting you. The truth is, I woulda left me too.”
3. “Young Love“:
The catchiest song on this EP. The energy build-up leading from the verses to the chorus is incredible. My favorite lyric from this track? “If young love isn’t real love then why does it hurt so bad?” So true, huh?
3 chords & the truth: “We’re all grown up with a broken heart.”
4. “Sake of the Summer“:
The mid-tempo summer jam. It’s all about embracing that fleeting but real, heated summer love.
3 chords & the truth: “We let our heads tell our hearts what they wanted to hear, we let our hearts tell our heads that we’re only here for the sake of the summer “
5. “Drinkin’ To Do“:
A poignant, raw and emotional song that’s perfect in every sense for your lonely pity parties, or when you ponder on the very decisions and missteps you have made in this journey we call “life”.
I chanced upon this song a few short years back on YouTube. It was an acoustic video with Ryan on vocals, an acoustic guitar and his Wife, Talia, on harmonies. How boring is that, you’d think? Wrong. It was the one of the most flawless acoustic performance I’ve ever seen.
In the literal sense, this song is essentially about the escapism and solace alcohol provides a heartbreak. But personally, it also spoke to me in a non-romantic aspect. Without getting too personal, it reminded me of the days when I wish I had made better choices, when I felt so alone in my problems, when I actually found comfort and pleasure by drowning in my sorrows. It’s one of those cathartic songs you listen to relate, heal and maybe feel liberated. Hey, isn’t that what country music and music, in general, is all about?!
“Intentionally put at the end of the record. It’s a lonely song, supposed to make you feel very isolated and I wanted to convey a certain level of numbness- because it’s easier to not feel anything”
3 chords & the truth: “I got some lonely to face, I got some sorry to be, I got words that you said, I got friends checking up on me. I might be throwing ’em back like I got something to prove, I got a couple mistakes that I still gotta make, I got some drinkin’ to do. / I might be reckless, yeah I’m guessing I’ll be hurting when I’m through. But for now, I got some drinkin’ to do.”
So clearly, you can see which of the 5 is my favorite. But to be honest, this country-pop release is an all-rounder stellar piece. Thematically, it’s all about that passionate young love, romantic regrets, and self-reflection.
While most may know the Florida native as “the Dibs co-writer”, I know him as this talented guy with a great voice and hand at writing good songs. And the Sake of the Summer” EP is a true vindication of that. Can’t believe it’s just his “debut” project!
Y’all go pick up a copy on iTunes or stream the hell out of it on Spotify before he gets signed by a label and it’ll be taken down till his official label debut gets released! Jump on board, support this talent; before he blows up and you’re just another bandwagoner! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.