IF YOU GO
What: Ryan Oyer and Megan Howard dual CD-release party.
When: 8-10 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave.
Admission: $10 entrance only; $20 entrance and both CDs (CDs $10 each).
"Metamorphosis." The name of local pop singer/songwriter Ryan Oyer's upcoming sophomore release says it all.
That title reflects not only how Oyer's music has grown but also how his approach to his craft has changed after two years of playing around town and in other cities.
"I've changed a lot in the four years since I started coming out to play," he said. "I'm becoming the man that I want to be by playing music out live.
"Before we did (first album) 'Come Together,' I don't think I was the kind of person at that point who felt confident enough to go out and make an album. By meeting everyone who worked on this record with me, it gave me the confidence to pursue it."
Oyer, 28, will debut "Metamorphosis" on Saturday at Barking Legs Theater as part of a dual CD-release party with fellow singer/songwriter Megan Howard, who is unveiling her new EP, "Atonement."
As with his first album, released in 2010, most of the 13 songs on "Metamorphosis" were inspired by romantic relationships, from the aftermath of his divorce to his return to dating.
The album has moments that are "very vulnerable," Oyer said, but overall, he felt a renewed sense of purpose during the recording process.
"It comes through more confidently -- with conviction, I guess," he said. "I feel like the bar on this one was raised."
In the last several years, Oyer has become a popular local performer, known for clever songwriting that is strongly influenced by Brit-pop artists such as The Beatles and Oasis. He initially attracted attention at local open mikes with his hook-filled song "Rabbit Hole," which was released on "Come Together."
Like Oyer's debut album, "Metamorphosis" was a highly collaborative affair with guest appearances by almost 20 local artists. Most of the songs were recorded at the home of his manager, local singer/songwriter Michael McDade. Local dulcimer maestro Butch Ross mixed the album, and it was mastered by local engineer and musician Charles Allison.
Oyer said the support of so many fellow musicians was creatively reaffirming, and about halfway through working on "Metamorphosis," he had an epiphany that music was no longer a side project for him.
"Now, it's what's most important to me and what I've found that I'm really good at," he said. "It occurred to me that there was all this crap around me, but as long as I had the music, it would keep me happy, keep me sane. That realization makes it all worthwhile."
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...