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Inspired by the past

Local singer-songwriter uses experiences to fuel his music

One half of the duo Nikki and Ryan, Ryan Ready recently performed for hundreds of people in Pilot Point for Music on the Square.

At one point, Ready’s 6-year-old daughter, LaKasey, joined him onstage to help him sing “Honky Tonk Blues” by Charley Crockett. It was a special moment for Ready, who graduated from Pilot Point High School, and for those who have followed his career.

“Singing with her is the coolest thing that I think I’ll ever be able to do as a musician,” Ready said. “I think that’s probably the good in me, to be a father, to be in her life, to influence her, to show her music and love, and to share that moment with her.”

Ready has been performing with his musical partner, Nikki Horner, who he describes as a wonderful singer, for about two years.

“I’ve really come into myself as an artist,” he said. “The songs that I’ve written in the past couple years, to me it’s like the best work I’ve done. I’m really proud of my music for the first time.”

Ready describes the duo’s style as blues-infused country-rock. He mentioned George Strait, Vince Gill, Gary Allan and Merle Haggard as influences.

“I believe that what we’re doing, is bringing back the 90s country sound,” he said.

In 2013, Ready launched a crowdfunding campaign for his first album, “The Angel and the Workhorse,” through Kickstarter and raised more than $6,000 from dozens of backers. He received another $6,000 from Robert Richardson Jr., an area native and racecar driver, at the time of the Kickstarter campaign.

In 2014, Ready retreated from secular music, joined a church band and began working at the Peterbilt factory in Denton.

“I was all over the place with alcohol and all the devil’s candy that goes along with playing in bars and that lifestyle,” he said. “And because my head was in the wrong place, performing was threatening my marriage at the time.”

Ready said he fought for his marriage, but it did not work out. He said his father’s death in 2015 contributed to him getting on antidepressants.

“The next year of my life upon getting on the medication was almost a complete blackout,” Ready said. “The medication sort of changed me to the point where I ended up in a divorce.”

Ready said he doesn’t mind being open about what drove him to step away from music in 2014, especially because so many people in Pilot Point and the area had supported him in his dream.

“I did a lot of living over the past seven or eight years,” he said. “All those experiences led me to where I am with the songs that I’ve written.”

Ready has about 12 songs written for his next album. He gave one of those songs, “Trying to Find,” as an example of how his life experience has shaped his songwriting.

“It’s a song about losing yourself, being lost and being on the journey of self-discovery and finding yourself again and getting back to who you were growing up, who you knew yourself to be before you lost track of that,” he said.

Ready grew up in Pilot Point and graduated from the high school in 2006. He said he remembers starting out and playing at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall every other Friday for about a year.

“The regulars would get tired of me,” he said. “But everyone has stuck with me all this time. I’m proud of that, and I’m proud of this town. I feel loved and I feel safe here.”

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