Composer Barron Ryan was recognized by Smithsonian Magazine as a Top 10 Innovator for his capacity to take inspiration from a narrative, discover its melody, and communicate a story through music.
Honey, If It Wasn’t For You is the true story of a song written by Barron Ryan and Don Feagin. Don, a professional songwriter, wrote the words and Barron wrote the music. But this wasn’t your average collaboration. That’s because Don died in 1981—six years before Barron was even born.
Barron releases his original work without copyright. He gives it as an offering, with the hope that it will make the world a better place. When the work of writing or recording is finished, he prefers the results be enjoyed by any who might be edified by them. He made this ‘videobook’ of Honey, If It Wasn’t for You in that spirit: https://youtu.be/bEkL7ctysHI?si=rN4GRwswPF3J_Td_
Interview Barron Ryan on:
- The transcendent power of music to connect people
- 3 reasons to give your ideas away (his unique philosophy of art, beauty and authorship and why he releases work without copyright)
- The process of putting music to a love song that was written for a wife by a husband who could no longer sing it
- How the story of Don and Linda Feagin’s marriage inspired Barron beyond his expectations
- Why beauty matters in everyday life
- How to not starve as an artist … eventually
- The songwriting process: from big ideas to little choices
- How to defy categories as an artist
- How a pianist transitioned to also being a writer
More information on Barron and the book can be found here. A digital review copy, audio file of the song, and downloadable press materials can be found here. If you’d prefer a print review copy, please let me know.
Thank you for talking to Barron about innovation, the creative process, and the love story he was chosen to tell.
PR by the Book
The son of two musicians, Barron Ryan grew up in a house filled with the sounds of artists ranging from Mozart to Motown. In his own work, he combines those disparate influences into a musical adventure that’s vintage yet fresh, historical yet hip, classic yet cool.
Barron seemed destined for a career in music. He began piano lessons at age four with his father, then excelled in performing throughout middle and high schools and as a piano performance major at The University of Oklahoma. But it was only after an international concert tour—the result of winning a piano competition—that Barron found his artistic voice. He discovered the joy of jazz and ragtime-inspired concert music and endeavored to fill the void of funk, pop, and country-inspired classical music. Following his unique muse, Barron has released four albums.
In 2021, Barron wrote a commissioned piece for piano trio entitled My Soul Is Full of Troubles to commemorate the 1921 massacre in Tulsa, OK. Smithsonian Magazine took note and named him one of Ten Innovators to Watch in 2021.
As was the practice of his favorite composers, Barron publishes his original works in the public domain—offering his work as a gift to the world, and as a chance to collaborate with artists from around the globe. Honey, If It Wasn’t For You is his first book.