In 1997, Ryan began a relationship with Young Life performing regularly throughout the U.S. at the mission’s more than twenty properties. By the end of 1998 he had released his debut record, Cry for Me, produced by Michael Aukofer at Word/Myrhh studios in Nashville. Cry is filled with a host of skilled contributors including Phil Keagy and Phil Madeira.
In 1998 two compilations featuring his music were released. Paste Magazine put out their Paste Music Sampler 1 containing “Face It Alone” from Cry for Me. Also that year, The Awakening Compilation, vol. 3 was released with Long’s title track from Cry for Me.
In 2000 Long recorded Waiting by the Window. Produced by Aukofer at the Whitehouse in Nashville, Waiting was later dubbed the ”Best Follow-up CD” of the year by Paste Music Magazine. As more critical acclaim came for Long, Grassroots Music added the opening cut from Waiting entitled “The Wind in Me” to their Dialects compilation for Americana/Folk.
For Send Up a Flare, recorded in 2003, Long worked with producer Ed Cash. Bringing in only three other artists, Cash focused on Long’s vocals and guitar. With this minimalistic approach, Ryan’s vibrant and stimulating music and his complex lyrical narratives lend obvious depth to Flare. In 2004 Ryan was a semifinalist in The Independent Music World Series with “ If it Hadn’t Rained” from Flare.
Long’s January 2008 release, Living in Tents, co-produced by Long and Michael Aukofer, has been well received by fans and critics alike.
Long has sold over 60,000 records as an independent artist.
Ryan currently lives in Knoxville, TN with his wife Carmen and his three children.
What people say….
“This album is a work of art and deserves uninterrupted and careful attention.” [Living in Tents]
- Kole Lovett, Author Comfort, TX
“Living in Tents is, by far, his best CD yet”
- Jim Clark, Publisher Lee County Courier
“His sophomore CD is a vast improvement on a quality debut. There's something beautiful in [his music] that has made Long an exceptional songwriter and a consistent favorite at PasteMusic.com”
“Wow! That's a great cd, Ryan! I get handed a cd or two at most shows, and most of them don't grab me, but I give them a quick listen - just in case one of them sounds like yours does.” [Waiting by the Window]
- David Wilcox, What Are Records Recording Artist
“This is the best album I’ve heard in a long, long time.” [Waiting by the Window]
- Mitch McVicker, Spin Dust Records recording Artist
Ryan Long is a storyteller who seems to help me find 'the suburbs of Eden' in his art for the recounting of life's panoply of simple moments.
- Joe Novenson, Senior Pastor, Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church
There are some recordings whose depth and sophistication defy easy description. Ryan Long's newest release, Waiting by the Window is one of those albums. The intimate, multi-layered lyrics are set in acoustic guitar-driven arrangements that perfectly complement the complex content and mood of each song. To hear this album is to be enlarged.
- Kemper Crabb, Grassroots Music