Ryan Hommel, at the age of 26, is a touring musician and multi-faceted producer with roots in blues and soul. The son of a jazz fusion guitarist and composer, Rich Hommel, Ryan started playing guitar at 5 years old and was in bands by the age of 10. His hometown is Haydenville, MA.
Ryan teamed up with Grammy nominee and RockOn mentor, Seth Glier at age 15 and began writing songs in earnest at 17 yrs old. Seeing Ryan perform in person, you can tell he genuinely enjoys what he is doing. In a 2013 interview with Sounds Local-Hommel shared. “If someone had asked me five years ago what my life would be like, I wouldn’t have been able to predict any of the things that have happened”, he said, “To keep going is a real joy”.
Ryan has worked with various musicians such as Edwin McCain, the Beau Sasser Trio, and the Sweetback Sisters, as both a multi-instrumentalist and record producer.
As Seth Glier’s guitarist, he co-produced 3 albums, including grammy nominated album, “The Next Right Thing”. While on the road with Glier, they played major theaters and opened for acts, such as Ani DiFranco. Still, Hommel found a bit of time here and there while on the road for his own personal songwriting.
In 2011 Ryan started working on his own album. It was sporadic and he worked as he was able to, a week every so often throughout the months. By Summer of 2012 Hommel decided to make his musical career a priority and focused steadily on his album. At this time he also formed a trio with Darby Wolf and Ted Sullivan. His self-titled EP “Ryan Hommel” which he produced with Dave Eggar, was released in April of 2013. It is available for purchase on iTunes, CD Baby, Google Music Store, Amazon, Spotify. Livingston Taylor commented on Ryan’s work saying, “Ryan Hommel delivers his beautiful music with a discipline and clarity that allows it to travel straight to your soul”.
These days you can find Ryan most often with his band The Optical Shop playing a mix of original and interpreted music, both old and new. the Optical Shop is Ryan Hommel (vocals, guitarist, pedal-steel), Marc Seedorf (vocals, bass), and Colin Jalbert (vocals, drums). This year, the Optical shop will be travelling to Nashville, TN to record a handful of songs at Blackbird Studios, one of the most famous studios in the world. Blackbird Studios is co-owned by sound engineer, John McBride and American country music singer, songwriter, and record producer, Martina McBride. Blackbird Studios was created in 2002 and has grown to be a top production stop for recording artists including, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, Kid Rock, Tim Mcgraw and more. Then in 2013, owners founded The Blackbird Academy, an educational program for students to further develop skills and give real-life, hands on studio drive time, to up the standards in the world of recording engineering. The students at the Blackbird Academy will engineer Ryan Hommel and the Optical Shop’s upcoming recordings. While in Nashville, this Fall, they will play a special concert at The National Underground, Tuesday, September 23, 2015 @10pm. (105 Broadway, Nashville, TN 21+, no cover charge). The Optical Shop produced an EP, “A/B” which is avialable now.
Tonight you can catch Ryan as he teams up with the Berkshires’ Picky Bastards (July 16th) at Mission Bar and Tapas on North Street in Pittsfield.