Three rea­sons to hear Ryan Oyer tonight

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - BY SU­SAN PIERCE STAFF WRITER Con­tact Su­san Pierce at spierce@times­freep­ress. com or 423-757-6284.

Ryan Oyer, one of Chat­tanooga’s most pro­lific song­writ­ers, will per­form in Pil­grim Con­gre­ga­tional Church’s on- go­ing mu­sic series tonight.

Oyer has five al­bums and EPs to his credit, and he won the 2015 Road to Night­fall com­pe­ti­tion, beat­ing 35 other acts to take that ti­tle. If you’ve never heard this l ocal mu­si­cian, here are three rea­sons you should go to his show tonight,

De­but of his new s ong in mem­ory of Hunter White and Josh

Bates: On a sleep­less night a few weeks ago, Oyer got up in the mid­dle of the night and be­gan writ­ing a song in mem­ory of two friends who had com­mit­ted sui­cide, Hunter White and Josh Bates.

“These were two peo­ple that the floor fell out from un­der me when it hap­pened. The song came from the love I have for them that I can’t tell them now. This is my way of telling them,” Oyer says.

He wrote half the song that night, then called his friend and band­mate, Me­gan Howard, to help him fin­ish it. When they fin­ished the song the se­cond night, the two named it “Ever-Widen­ing Cir­cles,” a ti­tle re­flected in the lyrics “Your love will ripple in ever- widen­ing cir­cles.”

› More new mu­sic: Oyer is cur­rently work­ing on his sixth al­bum, “Sil­ver Lin­ings,” and he’ll be pre­view­ing some of that new mu­sic for his au­di­ence tonight.

“I’ve writ­ten a lot of songs for my fam­ily,” says Oyer of his new songs. “We use to have a stair­case at my grand­par­ents’ house that went down­stairs, and there were pic­tures of all my fam­ily hung on the wall. I re­mem­ber walk­ing down that hall­way and see­ing all my aunts and cousins in 8-by-10-inch frames. To me, the songs are like walk­ing down that hall and look­ing at those pic­tures.

“We are also cov­er­ing ‘What a Won­der­ful World’ by Louis Arm­strong, my ar­range­ment of it. I’m re­ally proud of that one.” › It’s for a wor­thy

cause: Even though the con­cert is free, a l ove of­fer­ing will be col­lected to help Oyer and his wife adopt a child from Haiti.

“My wife has known since she was 20 that she was go­ing to adopt a child from Haiti. When we talked about my work on a new record, she had the idea to use this al­bum as a fundraiser.

“We’ve only been to­gether four years, and you have to be to­gether five years be­fore they al­low you to start the process,” he says. Which makes the re­lease of a new al­bum dur­ing this f inal year of wait­ing an op­por­tune way to raise funds.

RICKY DAVIS PHOTO

Ryan Oyer

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