by Malcolm Petch
Daniel Huscroft is no stranger to Streaming Café, having played our venue back in November of 2010. This time around he’s bringing Ryan McAllister, a producer and songwriter from the Lower Mainland.
McAllister is one of the underground undersung heroes who’s had a taste of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow only to have it all vanish like vapour when the weather changed. As lead singer and primary songwriter for the Vancouver band Dakona, McAllister was along for the ride when the band was the focus of a seven-label bidding war about ten years ago. Madonna’s label Maverick Records stood strong, snapping up the band and sending Dakona on a whirlwind of touring around North America. An album, Perfect Change, hit the market in 2003. But even while they were out on the road, a massive internal shuffle at Maverick resulted in the band’s deal melting into nothingness, and the Dakona world-domination experience came to a close.
The band’s choice to sink its early advance from Maverick into setting up a recording studio in Abbotsford paid out some longer-lasting dividends for McAllister, though, by allowing Ryan to follow what he calls his “accidental occupation” of recording and producing other artists’ music.
In an interview with the Aldergrove Star last month, McAllister says he’s taken the knowledge he picked up while working with top-notch engineers and producers during Dakona’s high-flying trajectory and expanded on it in establishing his home-based business, Five Acres Studio.
“When we were recording at Capitol Studios in L.A. we were spending $15,000 a day, and that kind of pressure is counter-productive to creativity,” says McAllister. He prices his own services much lower than that, but don’t be fooled into thinking Five Acres Studios is a typical ‘home studio’ – it may be home-based, but it’s a well equipped professional space. And creativity is more of a focus than ever for McAllister and some of the friends he works with, so all of that equipment gets put to good use.
However, even with all that experience, it was only when he got a push from his fellow former-Dakonian, guitarist Brook Winstanley, that McAllister started working on an album of his own material. Music for a Rainy Town was released at the end of April, and the track ‘This Black Heart’ got enough airplay right out of the gate to make it into the Shore FM Song Search top ten.
McAllister will be featuring his album when he comes through the café on October 22nd along with Daniel Huscroft. The two of them also perform in a trio called Cowboys and Indians with fellow singer-songwriter Barnaby McRae, though McRae won’t be with them this time through. Showtime is 7pm at 596 Leon Ave in Kelowna, and as always you can catch the show online (and even talk to the artists!) if you can’t be there in person.