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Maryville, Southern USA, Vienna Coffee House

SOUNDS OF FOLK ROCK HEARTBREAK: THE KYLE DAVID PROJECT

Rydell (left) and Ray (right) have been performing music together for years, but they have been friends for much longer. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Rydell (left) and Ray (right) have been performing music together for years, but they have been friends for much longer. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Fourteen years ago, Kyle David Rydell began shooting fake guns at his neighbor Byron Ray. Rydell conquered his new acquaintance’s “fort” and immediately disliked him. Now, 19 and 21, the two musicians are nearly inseparable.

Rydell and Ray are currently performing locally in their self-proclaimed folk rock duo the Kyle David Project. The musicians are looking to debut some new music and merchandise this Friday, Oct. 10 at the Vienna Coffee House in Maryville.

Musical Brothers

Rydell and Ray enjoy spending their free time together writing music and having a good time. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Rydell and Ray enjoy spending their free time together writing music and having a good time. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Though as young boys the musicians did not initially find each other’s company exactly pleasurable, their friendship developed after a short time, and eventually their artistic partnership formed as well.

“We are brothers now,” Rydell told ETEB this week. “From fist fights to watching Star Wars, we are brothers for life. I couldn’t imagine not having Byron play with me on this project.”

The Kyle David Project consists of Rydell on vocals, guitar, and the kick drum, while Ray provides accompaniment on bass guitar and backup vocals. Together, the two take inspiration from the musical styles of bands such as Mumford and Sons. Rydell has also taken up other instruments to add into the mix, such as the ukulele and violin.

Future Full of Promise

The Kyle David Project has previously performed at venues such as Knoxville's Longbranch Saloon, and they will bring their show to the stage at Vienna Coffee House this Friday. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

The Kyle David Project has previously performed at venues such as Knoxville’s Longbranch Saloon, and they will bring their show to the stage at Vienna Coffee House in Maryville this Friday. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

The two find time for their music amidst full workloads. Rydell attends Maryville College as a full time student, and Ray works at 24/7 Workout Anytime in Maryville. The friends usually meet up for late nights of rehearsing and brainstorming whenever they get free moments throughout the week.

“We take inspiration for our music from the life we are living,” Ray said. A large part of the life experiences that become music for the duo stem from failed or otherwise ended romantic relationships in their lives.

“We’re in the middle of recording our first EP called ‘The Soundtrack of Ex-Lovers,’” Rydell said. “We like to play music that reflects our lives. I write down the words, Byron tells me how he feels about it, and if we still like it after that, we add some bass to it and some emotion, like how we would play it live.”

While the partners have been friends for over a decade, their organized artistic endeavors have taken off relatively recently. The Kyle David Project formed within the past two years, and they also currently provide musical accompaniment to services at First Christian Church of Maryville. However, they are looking to expand their horizons as a band.

“We’d really love to get out of Tennessee and explore what the world has in store for us,” Rydell said. Possible plans include showcasing their talents on the larger stages of music festivals such as Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn.

In the short term, Rydell and Ray have managed to make their mark on the local artistic scene. They gather their fan base with their active social media outreach and merchandise production. The show at Vienna Coffee House this Friday will feature the sale of new buttons created by Rydell.

While the band encourages all types of music lovers to attend their performances, they mostly encourage listeners to become a fan of the experiences their shows bring. For the two young men, meeting new people and enjoying their time both on and off stage are important factors of the work they do.

The KDP Concert Experience

The Kyle David Project will soon be releasing their new EP, "The Soundtrack of Ex-Lovers." Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

The Kyle David Project will soon be releasing their new EP, “The Soundtrack of Ex-Lovers.” Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

“After every show we play, we try to hang out with each other, get some food, and have a drink with the people who came to see us,” Rydell said. “We almost like hanging out with the people that came to our show more than playing the show itself sometimes.”

This Friday’s show is sure to bring a full crowd as the Maryville performance follows concerts in Knoxville and the surrounding area earlier this year. While Rydell and Ray continue to meet over drinks and heartbreak during late musical nights, the Kyle David Project may just be one act to watch out for as their hard work and optimism pay off.

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