Ryan first got turned on to live performance during college in a city notorious for breeding successful musicians: Lubbock, Texas. In the thick of the Texas Country scene there in 1999, he was the front-man for the house band, the Texas Armadillos, at The Blue Light, one of the cityâ€™s premier live music venues. The Armadillos would play Wednesdays when Cooder Graw and Cross Canadian Ragweed would often play Thursdays and Fridays. Briggsâ€™ band was filled with music students from nationally renowned South Plains College who went on to play with Texas Country All-stars Mark David Manders and Gary P. Nunn.
Originally from Katy (outside of Houston), where rock-n-roll, fishing boats, bayou parties, and muscle cars are a plenty, Briggs molds his style from early influences of Hank Williams Jr, Kenny Rogers, David Allan Coe, Lynard Skynard and Stevie Ray Vaughn with the revitalized Texas Country genre that includes Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Robert Earl Keen. His father, also an avid musician, brought his boy every year to the Kerrville Folk Festival, where he was exposed to the art of songwriting and the value of original, untainted homemade music. In his travel to Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, the southern United States and every dynamic corner of Texas, Briggsâ€™ songwriting reflects his discovery that both people and music are interesting, funny and warm wherever the wind blows.
The temporary halt to Briggsâ€™ growing popularity came upon graduation from Texas Tech University in 2001. He took a job with Arthur Andersen (Houston), where he was greeted by the biggest international accounting scandal in history with the fall of Enron Corporation.
Watching from the front row as â€œcorporate excessâ€ destroyed thousands of lives, Briggs quickly reshaped his priorities and began to turn his energy back to music. Thus, Ryan made plans to get out of accounting in October 2002. He remarks, â€œIf the worldâ€™s biggest, oldest, and most respected accounting firm can fall in 6 months, then anything can happen. Why not take it back to Lubbock and do what Buddy Holly did?â€
He began the journey and tapped out of public accounting. While working for a temp. firm to extinguish the remains of college debt, Briggs started playing again from January through August 2003 at various Houston venues and events, including a songwriter showcase with Jason Allen, Matt Owen, and Brett Mouton, and a weekly acoustic night with Daniel Ro-Trock at the Firehouse Saloon. â€œWe were playing to a highly infectious group of gritty southern music fans,â€ he remarksâ€¦â€œthey kept asking about an album, and I kept saying I had to work at 8:00!â€
In August 2003, Briggs quit his day job and trucked back to the birthplace of his infatuation with music â€“ West Texas. He enrolled in the music program at South Plains College (Alma matter of his former band and many Grammy Award winners such as Lee Ann Womack and Natalie Maines) in an effort to study music theory and surround himself with musicians once again. This proved to be a wise decision â€“ when he first arrived, Briggs auditioned and secured a vocalist/guitarist position with Thursday Night Live, a monthly country/blues concert performed on live television. He was also awarded 2004-2005 Outstanding Male Vocalist in Bluegrass.
In June 2004, Briggs began playing Lubbock venues again for the first time since he left West TX in 2001. His band consisted of a remarkably talented bunch of players with years of experience and diverse musical backgrounds: Mark Hill (electric guitar/mandolin/vocals), Robert Smith (drums/vocals), Keenan Le Vick (electric guitar/vocals) and Mandy Holbert (bass). The group, Ryan T. Briggs & Co, had a successful year with shows at The Blue Light Live, Jakes Sports Bar, Bash Riprockâ€™s, Fire & Ice, The 4th on Broadway Festival, Hub City Brewery, Buffalo Wild Wings, Crickets Grill & Drafthouse, Rocky Larues, Whiskey River, Firewater Cafe, Gaslight, Larry's BBQ and the Texas Cafe. In addition to the band, Briggs also played campfire tunes to hunters at the Longfellow Ranch (near Ft. Stockton), joined The High Plains Irish Dancers for a St. Patrickâ€™s Day Celebration at the Cactus Theater, and played various solo gigs around Texas.
Upon graduation from the South Plains College (SPC) Music Program in June 2005, Briggs and the band parted ways as he moved to Austin, TX. Having undergone two years at SPC studying the Country, Bluegrass, and Blues genres, along with adding music theory, lead guitar (telecaster), and flatpicking to his library, he was armed with a newfound respect for musical composition. He spent the summer in Austin writing songs and jamming, preparing for his first record, and planning a long-term music career.
Briggs began working with producer Mark Addison (AerieStudio.com) in September and began writing his first album, set to be officially released in April. Addison has produced artists including Ian Moore, David Garza, Gene Simmons, Guy Forsyth, Redd Volkaert, Honeybrowne, and Mundy, just to name a few. The CD has been described as a country record, with some bluegrass, a little blues, a little rock, and a lot of grit. Ryan's country and bluegrass influences, combined with Addison's eclectic, rock, and blues backgrounds, resulted in an album that truly has a unique and genuine sound.
The quality of the record is also largely due to the superb performances displayed by Austin musicians Redd Volkaert (formerly of Merle Haggard), Eddie Rivers (of Asleep at the Wheel), Nina Singh, David Carroll, Warren Hood, Colin Brooks, and Shannon Brackett.
Producer Addison also played various instruments, and Briggs contributed all acoustic licks, rhythm, and solos in addition to vocals. "It was important to me to make a record that can be reproduced in a live setting, with or without a lot of instrumentation," Briggs remarks, "so we placed a good deal of emphasis on the acoustic guitar and tried to center most of the hooks around that. I'm really pretty happy and excited with the results." Look for the CD, LeT iT RoLL, to hit shelves and radio April 2006!
Check out the artist's website:
1. Clay Henry
2. Las Vegas, West Texas
4. LeT iT RoLL
5. Swimmin' to the Gulf of Mexico
6. More than Lovers
7. Redneck Hippie
8. Freight Train
9. Sunset Watchin' Cowgirl
10. One Too Many Questions
11. The Bitch Next Door