Ryan Costello has form. He was half of the driving force behind The Oaks, a six piece alt-folk act from Orlando, specialising in muscular yet traditionally flavoured folk rock, sonically not too far removed from The Decemberists. In 2013, a year after the release of his last solo album, Costello was struck down with a rare nerve condition, preventing him from even so much as playing his guitar without pain.
All I have to give to you is now.
– Ryan Costello
Ryan’s soft, plaintive voice, subtly multi-tracked, is indebted to Bon Iver, but the experiences in this song are his own and the telling of them is authentic. His voice is matched by some beautifully picked banjo and guitar – I can’t imagine how it must have felt to pick up that and play again after years of discomfort – and a brooding bass drone provides all the percussive energy this track needs. If this all sounds a bit dour, it’s not, Costello is joined by the beautiful voice of Kelly Morris, who undercuts his breathy tenor with a bright, ethereal harmony, which shifts sweetly around the lead vocal.