MP3 Jimmy Ryser - Let it Go
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11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: 90's Rock, POP: 90's Pop
Jim Ryser began his music career in Solon, Ohio, when he was just a 6 year old. He started playing the violin then to while away the hours during hospital stays due to a birth defect called Spina Bifida. That was the ticketâ¦an escape from the drudgery of pain and illness. When he was 14, Jim picked up the guitar. It went everywhere with him. As a ninth grader, he debuted with his first band, "Traitor", at his junior high school's talent show. When a guitar solo (Yes, it was "Free Bird") commanded a standing ovation Jim recalls, "That moment, I knew what the Beatles must have felt like. To this day, it seems like the biggest crowd I have ever played in front of". Jim, by the way, has performed for as many as 70,000 people as a solo artist at Farm Aid IV and VI. In August of 2002 he eclipsed that number when he performed the National Anthem accapella at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 NASCAR event. 300,000+ fans at the speedway itself and estimates of over 30 million people watching and listening in 96 countries worldwide. Now THAT'S an audience! This was a longtime dream of Jim's and he was almost overwhelmed by the experience. Many thanks to Tony George for giving Jim the opportunity to fulfill his dream.
Music continued to be a way of life over the next several years. It provided personal enjoyment and a way to express himself and his experiences in a unique way. Richard Mellencamp (John's father) discovered Jim during his "pizza tossing days" right after high school. Jim says, "it was work from 7 to 5, go home and write with my sister, Diane, and do it all over again the next day. I loved every minute of those days". Richard took Jim's demos to John and they ended up on the cluttered desk of Clive Davis, president of Arista Records. The legendary "Man with the Golden Ears" offered Jim a spot on the Arista roster immediately after their first meeting. Jim inked his contract "in the kitchen" in 1988.
Success came in 1990 with the release of "Jimmy Ryser", his self-titled debut CD. The first single, "Same Old Look", hit number 26 on the Billboard Chart, and number 6 on the Gavin Chart. A tour with the Moody Blues followed that summer, and he recalls the night at Blossom Music Center with his usual upbeat enthusiasm, "I was so pumped to play Blossomâ¦it was a dream for me because every rock star wants to make it big in his hometown. Even though I spent 20 years in Indiana, Cleveland is still my home". Although health limitations forced him to stop touring, Jim calls his debut a success. "It helped me with college at I.U., and it continues to help me with Grad school at John Carroll". Jim was a hit in the Midwest and in other areas of the country, but his health took a toll on the fast rising star. He nevertheless kept writing with lyricist-sister Diane. In 1992, Jim and Arista had a mutual parting of ways so Jim could regain his health.
The next few years found Jim writing new material in Bloomington, Indiana. With a new attitude, Jim stepped into his private studio and recorded "Mañana Mentality", a very guitar-oriented disc. With his "do or die" attitude changed, Jim took his time recording and releasing the CD. He mixed it in John Mellencamp's studio, Belmont Mall, with great support from John. The result is a spectacular collection of material that reflects the growth of a person who has experienced the ups and downs of a tumultuous life. Jim says today, "If I live until tomorrow, I want to spend that time livingâ¦I want to die living, not live dying. Chronic illness reminds me of how precious life really is, and my acceptance of it gives me peace today."
Jim has non-musical interests as well. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and top-ten from Indiana University in May 1999 with a Bachelor's Degree in psychology. He is currently studying for a Master's degree in Community Counseling at John Carroll University in Ohio. He hopes to focus on Addictions treatment and Chronic Pain rehabilitation. Jim knows the hopelessness of chronic pain and drug addiction, yet he knows the hope that treatment and counseling have given him. "I want to give back what was given to me, and my experience with many surgeries and my own addiction will give me an edge that few counselors have," Jim says. Compassion, experience, and knowledge will give Jim that edge along with his drive to help others.
Jim was selected among 5,000 applicants in 1993 to be the "National Adult Representative for Easter Seals." He traveled the country during the year speaking on behalf of disabled people. In April 1993, Jim flew himself to the White House (Jim is also an avid pilot) to meet President Bill Clinton. Though he sat in the president's chair in the Oval Office, Jim claims to have had no "cigar experiences" with any interns there. He also recorded a new song called "Just One Man" that was released as a limited edition CD/Cassingle. The single also included a haunting acoustic version of "Rain Came". Easter Seals sold 10,000 copies of the single, and all proceeds went directly to Easter Seals.
The release of his third full-length CD, "Let it Go", in late 1998 involved the talents of several prominent people. John Mellencamp continues to remain a staunch supporter of Jim and his music, from having him perform violin, guitar, and vocals on his last three CD's to "loaning" Jim his band. Mike Wanchic and Andy York produced, sang, and performed on "Let it Go". Mike Stucker (Echo Park Studios, Belmont Mall) engineered and mixed the disc of newer and remixed older material, including the demos that got Jim his record deal with Arista Records. The disc is a wonderful portrait of Jim's life and career. Jim's goal today is to continue with both career paths he loves traveling on - music and counseling.
Last election year, Jim recorded a live CD, "Alive for the First Time." It was recorded in a whirlwind 2-day period at Après Jack's in Indianapolis, Indiana. On October 29th of 2000, Jim had driven home to Indiana to sing the national anthem for his friend Jim Irsay's Indianapolis Colts/Detroit Lions game (yes, they won!). Jim had performed at Après Jack's the night before, and it was a magical night for Jim and the packed little pub. His drummer, Thom Braun, suggested that he do a live CD for his 2000-01 winter tour of Indiana clubs. It took Jim 5 hours to return to Cleveland and within that time he had booked election night and the night afterward to record the new disc. Andy Symons, a longtime friend of Jim's, engineered and mixed the disc. It was out before we could decide who our next president was, and Jim was off to a successful winter tour of 28 shows in 32 days.
Jim's latest CD was released two summers ago, entitled, "Chameleon." It features a rich mixture of eclectic styles, all of which Jim pulls off with ease and mastery of the God-given talent that he is gifted with. Jim claims many influences throughout his life, and his love of a new and sober life is well reflected in the song lyrics of the incredible new CD. Jim even involved his young cousins in the making of the disc's artwork, and Andy Symons returned once again at the recording/production helm. Dane Clark of John Mellencamp's band provides his usual flawless rhythms on several tracks, while Bob & Tom Band's Michael Clark brings his own specialty to the varied sounds of the tracks. It is Jim's best and finest work to date, and he also provides a few old demo surprises on the disc.
Jim's commitment to his new life of counseling and personal sobriety has allowed us to see a new and more mature Jim Ryser. He has finished his Master's Degree in Counseling at John Carroll University, and he was one of two people chosen for the coveted internship at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital. He says that he enjoyed the rotation there and helping sick people is a way that gives his own difficult experiences value. His ability to combine music with his passion for counseling is one that makes his new life special indeed. He toured Indiana during the summer, promoting "Chameleon," while simultaneously doing an advanced internship at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. "I think it's kinda' neat to tell people in Ohio that I played with Mellencamp, toured with The Moody Blues, and played at several Farm Aids over the years. They ask me what the hell I am doing at school, and when I tell them I am a counselor specializing in Chronic Pain and Alcohol/Drug Dependency, they all disappear as if a skunk walked into the room! It's ok, though. I am not here to judge anyone who can do what I cannot, which is to drink moderately. I found I could be a better person without that, and I pass that message along as I play. I just love doing what I do, and I do it for real now. No regrets."
Jim moved "Back Home Again in Indiana" last year, to begin the new Chronic Pain Management Rehabilitation Program at Methodist Hospital. Mike Denton, Jim's boss and Program Manager of Clarian Behavioral Healthcare's Drug & Alcohol Addictions Program at Methodist Hospital, shared Jim's vision of combining the pain program with the addictions program. Jim's unique vision of using the twelve steps in chronic pain management helps those with pain, regardless of addiction, get a handle on their lives and to become more independent again.
"Actually," Jim says, "It was really a statement of Ed Covington's (Jim's mentor who runs the Cleveland Clinic's Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program) that inspired me, combined with the Gods' smiling on my time at Methodist when I did my internship there." Jim adds, "Ed mentioned that he wished that all of the pain patients were in a 12 step program, because it seemed to him that those who really worked a 12 step program tended to stay well, pain managed, and independent longer and more consistently. So we just did it. I credit Mike and Larry (Lisak, the Clinical Director of Clarian Behavioral Healthcare) with sharing my vision and giving it a chance. I just returned from a conference in New York City, and it is clear that the Pain community and the Addictions community still tend to be on opposite sides of the fence, although we are slowly but surely seeing the bridge. As a matter of fact, we are a bridge, in that we use non mood altering drugs in our program, yet treat the pain that people have appropriately when needed. We find that people who do our multidisciplinary and team-managed program tend to do better without all the drugs that are often prescribed for pain. We want people to be independent, and I always tell my new patients that I hope within 6 weeks, they fire me."
And Jim would be happy if the world was a pain-free place, "but that is not possible. I just like to say that pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. And the only way out is through." The Pain Management Rehabilitation Program at Methodist Hospital is certainly one of the ways through, as Jim Ryser knowsâ¦you may reach him, if you need help, at 317.962.0651.
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