Ryan Oyer is a storyteller and a man inspired by the effects that music can have on people when placed in close proximity to them. His rural rock narratives and alt-country impulses reveal a love for both traditional folk-rock rhythms and something that skews a bit more left-of-the-dial. His is a world of low evening bonfires and sing-alongs where friends and family gather to share experiences and discover a common understanding of the world and its various movements. His voice aches and encourages in equal measure, and his songs tend to veer between personal revelation and a broader collective sentiment.
On his past releases, he’s effortlessly tied these numerous musical threads together in a loose but potent lattice of influence and emotion. And he continues to refine his talent for melodic construction on recent single, “Mother May I?,” a song that could easily have fallen into saccharine sentimentality but possesses a sincere affection and authenticity that fuels its piano-and-string significance. Opening with a short clip of his wife and child singing “You Are My Sunshine,” the track is a beautiful ode to mothers and the resilience and love which clings to their hearts. It also features Oyer’s sister, who helped to write the song and lends her voice to its lines.
Produced and recorded (and mixed and mastered) by Butch Ross at Shinola Studios, the song — which will find a home on Oyer’s upcoming album, “Silver Linings” — layers a luxurious piano line against soaring strings and acoustic guitar. The resulting sound is intimate but inspired by a universal acknowledgment of maternal experience and struggle, with Oyer’s voice recalling a younger Jeff Tweedy while evincing a similar knack for melody and effortless composition. It’s a way for him bestow praise and credit to his wife and his own mother for everything that they’ve done, and to the ceaseless hard work of all mothers in general.