If you’re a country- or roots-influenced artist living in Nashville, it’s a difficult exercise to make singular, unique records. If you’re talented and you’re operating in the Americana wheelhouse whatsoever, you’re likely going to either blend into the landscape or find yourself adopting the Country Music Machine conventions — and thus potentially losing your soul. Local singer-songwriter and Korean Is Asian frontman Brian Ritchey, however, has managed to eschew the more tedious Nashville conventions — super-slick production and predictable song structure, to name but two — without having to sacrifice tuneful arrangements or emotionally revelatory subject matter. “No Way Out of This House,” the titular track from Ritchey’s brand-new full-length, is a powerfully poignant number that climbs from heartrending ballad to sweeping, bombastic anthem, as Ritchey belts his anguished vocals over swelling strings and a wall of gritty, mid-tempo instrumentation. Ritchey bears a slight physical resemblance to alt-country icon Jeff Tweedy — he could probably pass for Tweedy’s younger cousin — but vocally, the two could be brothers. Somehow both beautifully powerful and vulnerable, Ritchey’s world-worn croon is his most potent asset, be it delicate and broken on songs of spiritual reflection or triumphant and booming on tunes about personal torment.
Hey, if I drop the Tweedy Bird's name in a comparative context, you know I find it intriguing. According to Ritchey, there will even be a live three- or four-piece string section for tonight's festivities, and Field Days & Powder Kegs appear in support. Hear the titular song from No Way Out of This House below.