There was a time, not too far back, when Ryan Dean was done with music.
After spending years with the popular Americana folk group Poor Man’s Poison, the guitarist/songwriter was burned out.
He sold his guitar and became a plumber. He didn’t play at all for six months.
Now, Dean returns to the scene with a new band, Russian Money, and a new set of groove-heavy blues-rock tunes.
“I want to play rock and roll,” says Dean, doing some press in advance of a blitz of local shows, including a performance at Hanford Fox Theatre earlier this week. The band plays Saturday, July 2, at Cellar Door in Visalia and Thursday, July 7, at Fulton 55.
The band came together over the past year – its members culled from players Dean knows from the South Valley music scene.
“It’s been like a big musical family that we’ve all been in for years,” says guitarist John Bell. He considers the guys in the band his best friends.
Bell was also in Poor Man’s Poison and has known and played music with Dean since high school. They both knew bassist Mario Tiexiera from his work in bands like New Dustbowl, Docs Holiday and Saltwater. Dean was introduced to drummer Matt Hopson by his old boss.
First and foremost, we are a band for the fans.
Ryan Dean, on his new blues rock group Russian Money
Hopson is a metal guy. Bell plays the blues and Tiexiera can do just about anything, Dean says. Together the band creates bluesy, Southern-tinged rock that hints at Dean’s past dabbling in country music.
Technically, Russian Money is a living room band, which is a riff on being a garage band and an inside joke among the group. It’s also a pretty accurate description, seeing as they do practice in Dean’s living room.
But the group is serious about its work.
Already, they’ve signed a licensing deal with the independent label Spectra Music Group to release their debut album “Nothing for You There.” The first single, “Somebody Died,” will be released July 22, with the full album available later this year. In the meantime, they are getting their music into the hands of as many booking agents as they can. It would be nice to have someone in their corner, lining up proper gigs, Dean says.
Above all, Russian Money is a live band, he says, coming off a weekend where the band played four shows in 24 hours. Four days later, his voice is still strained from all the work. “We’re out there because we love the grind.”
Other concerts this week:
The event: It’s two nights of tribute shows at Strummer’s nightclub.
The draw: As with these kinds of tribute concerts, your enjoyment largely depends on your feelings toward the source material. Friday night’s show features reggae-rock from Doin’ Time, which bills itself as the “ultimate Sublime tribute.” Saturday night is a tribute to the 2000s. Six local acts play their favorites from bands like the Used, AFI, the Strokes, Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, Britney Spears and more.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, July 1, $10, all ages and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 2, $6-$8. 21+ At Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave. Phone: 559-485-5356, www.strummersclub.com
The event: Fulton 55 hosts Soulstice Vol. 1: Summer Edition, a night of hip-hop, jazz and contemporary and neo-soul music.
The draw: The inaugural Soulstice features Fresno’s hip-hop wordsmith Otis Reed, plus the Las Vegas hip-hop jazz group The Lique and local neo-soul band Epiphany Tones, along with a DJ set from Fresno’s own Living Legend, Aesop.
Reed is part of The Grizzly City Boys, the local hip-hop collaborative that includes Fashawn, Omar Aura and Halo.
Las Vegas Weekly, named The Lique one of “10 Acts To Watch in 2016” and “Best New Hip-Hop/Jazz Combo.”
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St. $7-$10. 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com