Every time I drive back to Oxford, Ohio memories flood my mind of school days. For those who grew up in the small town or found their way there by love and honor to Miami University, experience the nostalgic feels when you drive through uptown, see a band play at Brick Street, or sit in the park eating your favorite local cuisine. Of course, a drive is not complete without the right music to listen to. This brings me to the spring day in April when I made my way back into town for the Butler Rural Electric Cooperative annual dinner.
Two years of waiting for the dinner to return was worth it because country music singer and songwriter, Ryan Broshear, would bring the sounds I love to the hometown we share. As I went backstage at Millett Hall, I couldn’t wait to sit down with Ryan and talk about all things country music and how his Oxford upbringing left him coming back to the area after many years of living in Nashville. Read on to learn how a photo of uptown Oxford made its way onto his album, how he met his wife and spent years song writing together, all leading to the sound that is his today.
Growing up on a farm and having spent many years in 4-H and FFA, gave Ryan the country lifestyle rooted in the sounds of his music. His love for country music began as he sang along to the radio during car rides as a young boy. When he got his first guitar at age 12, he instantly fell in love. He formed his first band just two years later and spent his high school years perfecting his stage performance. “Garth Brooks made me want to be on a stage because I saw his performance with all the energy and running around crazy, I thought ‘I want to do that’. It was Garth that made me want to take the stage, but vocally Merle Haggard and George Straight were some of those classic influences,” shared Ryan.
He quickly fell in love with entertaining and by the time he graduated was performing locally. Ryan soon made his way to Music City, living there for several years. When he came back home, he met his wife, Amie, at a local show. Their shared love of music led them to move back to Nashville together and they began writing songs. Ryan released a self-titled album in 2011 followed by his Paint It Red collection of songs in 2015, many of which the couple had co-written. This gave Ryan the opportunity to tour nationally, visit radio stations, and his single “Spin Me” was on Billboard for about 17 weeks.
For the first album, Ryan sat down at his house and wrote from experiences he had. It included one of the first songs he had written called “Make Each Moment Last”. As he would get stuck on writing songs for the album, Amie would give him ideas. “We wrote ‘I Don’t Mind’ back and forth over text messages throughout the day. I had a dream I lost her. I woke up with a terrible, bad feeling. It was a rainy nasty day. I pulled into a parking spot at work and came up with the line, ‘I don’t mind the rain.’ I wrote a verse, sent it to her, and she sent me back something. We wrote that over the course of a day and ended up releasing it as a single,” told Ryan, “Each song has its own story and unique way of coming about. That album inspired us to refollow a dream I’ve had my whole life. We moved back to Nashville together.”
That was a launchpad into the second album Paint It Red. Ryan and Amie filmed a music video for the single ‘Spin Me’ that went to Great American Country (GAC). The scenes were filmed in several spots in Nashville with iconic Nashville scenery. They wrote the script of a guy running into a girl at the coffee shop. They have a little moment, and she writes a note on a coffee cup that says “You spin me”. He’s wondering all day about what the note means and how he can find the girl, which he ultimately does in the end.
While his performance in Oxford this year had been long-awaited, Ryan shared how difficult it had been to press pause on his music plans during the pandemic. In March 2020, he was ready to release a new single to country radio, “Mama Should Have Named You Moonshine”. He got to be on TV in Nashville for his single release then everything shut down. During this time he did a lot of online shows, though it didn’t compare. “There’s nothing that beats playing live and seeing people enjoy the music, dancing and singing along. Seeing the joy music brings to people, which is why I do it,” says Ryan.
During the past two years, he turned his focus to his one-year-old daughter. Music for Ryan right now is like a reemergence, a new goal set and new things with it. He used to do 90-100 shows a year but isn’t making plans for that volume. He does have plans to record another album in the next year, get out on the road, hit some of his favorite spots and reconnect with his fan base.
As his career has evolved over the decade, Ryan can look back at what he has experienced and be thankful he didn’t hold back and he advises other artists to do the same. “Don’t worry about the things holding you back, go do it and find a way. If you hold back and procrastinate doing it, then you won’t do it. Everybody that’s down there (Nashville) that’s ever made it… go through trials and tribulation. They all have a ton of talent and didn’t know how they were going to make it but they worked at it,” says Ryan, “Some people get lucky early; some people work 10-15 years at it. I never had the break where I got a big record deal or a number one song, but there are hundreds of people who would have died to be on the stages I got to be on.”
As he prepared for the show this evening, he expressed his gratitude for the many supporters in the audience. “What’s great about being here tonight is looking out at the crowd and seeing people that have known me growing up and know my family,” says Ryan as Butler Rural Electric has been a long-time supporter. The love Ryan has for his hometown is evident in the old photo of uptown Oxford on the back of Paint It Red. I loved listening to this album during the drive home, jamming out to “Friday Night In A Small Town” gave the perfect hometown vibe.
You can download and stream Ryan’s two albums now along with his single release of “Mama Shoulda Named You Moonshine” on Spotify and Apple Music. To be in the know of Ryan’s shows and new music visit ryanbroshear.com and follow him on all the socials: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
Photo Credit: Ryan Broshear website and Instagram