While he’s known best for his interpretative playing of traditional acoustic blues, jazz and old-time music, audiences can’t help but notice the influence that Northern living has had on Ryan McNally’s music. For the past ten years, Ryan has called Whitehorse, Yukon his home. Originally from rural Quebec, Ryan first discovered jazz and blues by uncovering a vast collection of ‘78 records that belonged to his grandfather. As a teen, his curiosity for the sound and history anchored his love for the genres, and it’s only grown stronger since.
His first album Down Home (2012), was recorded live by CBC North and was featured on the popular radio show Saturday Night Blues, hosted by Holgar Peterson. Ryan then headed south for a winter in 2015 to New Orleans, LA to write his second album Steppin’ Down South. The collection captures the sounds of hillbilly blues and jug band jazz and is full of the rhythms of New Orleans streets. Bob Hamilton at Old Crow Studios in Whitehorse recorded it live off the floor in 2016. In 2017 Steppin’ Down South was nominated for Blues Artist Of The Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA). That year, Ryan also had the privilege and opportunity to perform for Prince William and Princess Kate during their visit to the Yukon.
McNally has become known for his diversity as a multi-instrumentalist. He plays guitar, harmonica, mandolin, violin and banjo. Whether solo or with his band, he performs on all these instruments effortlessly and in his signature style. Ryan is set to release his third album, Listen Up in May 2019. While keeping true to his blues inspiration, he is now incorporating the calypso rhythm. This new work is an excellent combination of country blues, calypso and traditional jazz with compelling lyrics and a beat that will have audiences of any age out on the dance floor.