Western Australian-born Ray Ryder is primed to become Australia’s next country-rock star. His new single Wasting Time is a song that will accommodate a country music’s fan’s taste as well as fit nicely into mainstream pop playlists. Ray’s hard-earned status as a dynamic and exciting live performer comes after years of touring and he now gets to share the stage with some of Australia’s most renowned music artists including Missy Higgins, Lee Kernaghan, James Reyne, Ian Moss, Mark Seymour and The McClymonts. This track takes off from the get-go, with a good-time, rousing feel that sets up the freewheeling temper of the song. Guitars feature, of course, powering the song as it goes from a cleverly sparse and catchy verse melody to a full-blown chorus with layers of vocals, dynamic performances all round and Ray’s semi-swagger, which is not necessarily without emotional vulnerability, as it seems to contain both these elements: confidence and fragility.
Ray’s self-reflective lyric is a surprise factor here, juxtaposed with the driving instrumentation; it is heartfelt and considered, reconfirming country music’s ability to deal with soul-searching concepts and introspection that doesn’t dampen the spirit of the music but enhances it by giving it a complex and thought-provoking edge. The melodies are as hooky as they need to be, not trespassing into overt pop but teetering on the brink of it which serves the lyric and allows Ray and the band’s authenticity to rise to the surface. A song like Wasting Time simply screams out for a solo and that’s exactly what happens. It is a well-composed and adroitly performed instrumental change that helps the end chorus bring the song to a fitting close.
Having recently performed a series of showcase gigs in Nashville, Ray Ryder looks sets to broaden his audience base and widen his appeal and Wasting Time will no doubt help him achieve that and more.