Artist: Michael “Doc” Ryan
Featured song: “Rectify Me”
• Acoustic duo at Church of Neil (see Page 3)
• Solo acoustic at Chops Bistro, 370 E. Cascade Ave., Sisters; 6 p.m. Dec. 1; free
• Solo acoustic at The Lot, 745 NW Columbia St., Bend; 6 p.m. Dec. 6; free
• Solo acoustic at Cork Cellars Wine & Bistro, 391 W. Cascade Ave., Sisters; 6 p.m. Dec. 15; free
Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Michael “Doc” Ryan is the leader of The Wychus Creek Band. Originally from Texas, Ryan moved to Bend in 1995 to work as an orthopedic surgeon. He’s been a key member of the local music scene since the mid-2000s, and helped form the first house band for the annual, underground Church of Neil events (see the story here). Ryan is currently writing songs for a new album, the first to be credited to The Wychus Creek Band. “Rectify Me” is one of his new songs.
Q: What’s the story behind this song — how was it written, recorded, etc.?
A: For this one, I’ve got a creative image and then (it’s) finding a little bit of a melody and the right chords to go with that melody. Then I’m kind of halfway through. The rest of it’s just putting the pieces together. … This song was definitely — the words were coming first. But I just can’t write without a guitar. I know there are several songwriters (who) sit down and it’s like work. So, they sketch out the work and then they put it together. It just doesn’t go like that for me. For me, I get the idea — maybe for this song, I have some sort of a chorus, lyrics together — I find a melody and then I just have to finish it in maybe a week or three or four days, and just get it down and after that, maybe rework the parts. I just have to have it in my mind like that or I’ll lose it. It’s kind of a funny thing. And the ones that maybe I try — I try and sit down and have this concept — those are the ones that are still sitting on my desk.
Q: What’s the story inside this song — what’s it about?
A: For me, I’m only telling a story as I know it, so I like to have the spark in something in real life, either musically or vocally or lyricwise. So on this one, this song came about — my kids were getting older, and you go through these phases with your kids. As my son got more into his teenage years, (it) just didn’t seem like we could connect. It was a real kind of this hard time, maybe moving through a period of life where you can’t really do anything about it. So, the sense of we weren’t communicating well, he was into his own stuff, which is good. I think kids go through that and probably adults go through that, but just kind of a difficult interaction. So on this song, that was — that time was kind of a spark. And then there’s all this sense of maybe you feel a little helpless with how that part of your life is, and you know you’re gonna go through that part and on the other end there’s this hope.
— Brian McElhiney, The Bulletin