REVIEW: Ryan Jarvis: Live at The Spread Eagle in York (Review by JB)

Ryan Jarvis: Live at The Spread Eagle, York. Saturday 11th January 2014

As an adoptive citizen of the wonderful city that is York and of course originating from over the other side of the penines in an even more wonderful city that is Salford I felt compelled to head down the Spread Eagle pub when I spotted, via Facebook, that a fellow Mancunian was heading over the hills bringing with him his acousitc guitar and a bag full of his self penned Northern songs.

The aforementioned Mancunian was, of course, Ryan Jarvis. I’d seen Ryan perform once before whilst I myself was supporting Death To The Strange, The Moods and The Joint at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester but his set was brief and If I’m honest….I didn’t really listen. Shameful I know, but my job on that night was compèring in between the bands and I was somewhat more concerned with set times and running orders blah blah blah. Tonight though, I was making sure I listened, and I certainly did… and yes….. I liked what I heard.

Ryan took the stage with his Epiphone semi-acoustic guitar strung way up high across his chest in a Dylan-esque style but with the look of a young Scott Walker. His slim physique coupled with a confident strut echoed the likes of Wilko Johnson as he bobbed backwards and forwards whilst passionately thrashing out the opening chords of his first song ‘Busking Tune’.


Busking Tune is about the somewhat parochial attitudes of passers by whilst he’s been out and about singing his songs on the street. It’s an attack on the belief that buskers are invariably unemployed and/or homeless rather than talented artists simply attempting to get their work heard. It’s a great opening song and it has me and the rest of the already attentive audience wanting more. There’s no fancy guitar work here, no boring self indulgent solos either, they’re not needed, it’s just Ryan strumming through the chords to his wonderfully self penned songs. ‘Shine For Me’ is about two lovers desperate to escape to a place far away and ‘By The Water’ bounces along with it’s upbeat rhythm and has a sound to it reminiscent of Billy Braggs A New England which, in itself, has me smiling with appreciation.

Ryan also threw in a couple of covers the first being a simple acoustic version of ‘Waterfall’ by The Stone Roses. He plays it well and puts his own mark on it and it works well in the set especially for those in the audience not to familiar with this own work. His second cover is a song called ‘Sex’ by 1975 but as I’m not a fan of either the band or the song I find myself eagerly waiting for Ryan to get back to his own stuff, which he does….thankfully.

Ryan Jarvis can play, he can write great songs and he can perform them brilliantly with his warm and captivating northern charm. He finished his set with ‘Outside This Town’ a song about the place where he’s from, the place where he grew up, where he’s loved and been loved and the place that’s shaped him.

If you haven’t yet seen Ryan Jarvis perform live then make sure you do….and soon. JB Barrington

You can get Ryan Jarvis’s EP entitled ‘Outside This Town’ via his website

You can also follow him on twitter  @_RyanJarvis and on Facebook

Listen to his songs via his Soundcloud page

The Spread Eagle is a great pub in York with some great live band nights coming up. You can check out what’s coming up via their Facebook page here:

About JB Barrington

The words & verse of JB Barrington; performance poet from Salford. Lovely stuff, touches heart strings and the odd raw nerve - Johnny Vegas Great poems; great delivery - Terry Christian A warm charm, a rapier wit and a real appreciation of words - Louder Than War
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