Recommended if You Like
America Chicago Steely Dan

Genres You Will Love
Pop: with Live-band Production Moods: Mood: Fun Rock: Adult Contemporary

By Location
United States - Indiana

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Small Town City

Inspired by a lyric from James Taylor's 1981 hit "Her Town Too," hometown friends and classmates Ryan Ahlwardt and Michael Luginbill assumed the songwriting team moniker SMALL TOWN CITY while co-writing their first album of original material at Indiana University in 2003.

The fledgling songwriters, both members at the time of the (now world-renowned) a cappella group Straight No Chaser, brought their songs to longtime friend and collaborator Dave Weber of Airtime Studios. As a veteran co-producer and engineer on several of SNC's collegiate albums, Weber was keenly aware of Mike and Ryan's vocal talent and integral in assembling an all-star cast of instrumentalists to play on their project. Dave's wife, Hoosier singer-songwriter Krista Detor, also proved a creative presence in the studio, hellping craft and co-writing the bluesy "Trouble" & Eagles-esque "Best Intentions." The recording process culminated mere weeks before Ryan and Mike graduated college, after having spanned the greater part of the duo's senior year at IU.

Over the next several years, Ryan and Mike continued to perform together in various groups on cruise ships, in nightclubs, and "back home again" in suburban Indianapolis at the occasional neighborhood block party. The two friends who had originally bonded musically while sitting next to each other in high school choir class got their big break in 2008, when they found themselves signed to Atlantic Records with their collegiate a cappella cohorts due to the unexpectedly viral success of Straight No Chaser's "12 Days of Christmas" video on YouTube.

It wasn't long after this monumental event that Ryan and Mike, along with their SNC bandmates, were touring the world, performing for myriad audiences at such storied venues as The Hollywood Bowl, Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, and London's Royal Albert Hall, to name a few. Meanwhile, however, their SMALL TOWN CITY album from 2003 was all but forgotten, tucked away high upon some lonely shelf at Airtime...

SMALL TOWN CITY's debut - now 10 years in the making - evokes near-romantic memories of a bygone era when studio musicians actually played in the same room as each other(!) and Auto-Tune was simply known as singing in tune. Fans of Steely Dan, Chicago, America, and Straight No Chaser alike will surely appreciate the album's wide spectrum of soulful musical flavors and the hallmark vocal dexterity, power, and warmth of Ahlwardt and Luginbill's vocals.

Hopefully, fans won't have to wait another 10 years for a new batch of songs from these two. Until then, enjoy SMALL TOWN CITY's "Round In Circles."

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