At the ripe old age of 16 Ryan Verthein of Ryan & the Del-Days is taking his guitar playing very seriously.
Ryan started playing when he was four years old. He received a Harmony guitar for Christmas. His Dad taught him A, D and E, and pointed him to Buddy Holly records and Ryan was hooked. Within a few short weeks he was playing along with all the old rock and roll records from the 50's.
In the summer of 1995 (if memory serves correctly), Ryan went to the Iron World Blues Festival in Chisholm Minnesota where he saw Jonny Lang and the Big Bang perform. Jonny was just 14. Ryan was 8 or 9. To say Ryan was impressed with Jonny and blues guitar playing in general would be an understatement.
Then he discovered his Dad's blues CD's, and records. Heard Stevie Ray Vaughan and so many of the other contemporary blues players. Then he dug back into the old blues recordings. Rufus Thomas Jr, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and all the others.
Since the age of 4 Ryan has played the guitar constantly. He's played along with records and CD's, and even played with a few local bands. But none of these bands was going to play the kind of music Ryan loves. So he set out to to his own thing.
Now at 16 he's performed regularly around the area. Being tucked away in Northern Minnesota the opportunities to play the blues are the kind of opportunities one has to make for themselves! He plays a local coffee shop every month as a solo act with electric acoustic guitar (often joined by the Del-Rays drummer Kevin Severson). He's had the chance to play at many area shows, and even did a solo concert...the Del-Rays headline concert debut at Itasca Community College.
Deciding that getting his music out to the public is the only way to become known he started his first recording project last summer (2002). This CD is available right here, right now. Recorded live in the living room on a 96 degree July afternoon Ryan and Kevin played full speed ahead to create this recording. After Ryan added the bass tracks to the songs, since in the small town of Bovey, Minnesota there just aren't any bass players to be found.
After releasing the home-spun disc on the public he's found it to be very popular selling copies at the coffee shop, at school and via his website on the internet. He's getting some radio airplay on public radio in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and Superior Wisconsin and as he learns to promote and make more contacts the Ryan & the Del-Rays fire can only spread!
Presently Ryan is back at work on a full fledged CD project. Working with Johnny O'Keefe at First Generation Studios in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and having enlisted Mike Carvale on bass (from the Lamont Cranston Blues Band) Ryan is looking forward to an early spring release of the new CD.