Interview: R Boyd on his debut record, ‘High Country Skyway’

Ryan Boyd of Boulder Junction, WI released his debut solo album as R Boyd titled, High Country Skyway. The record dropped July 31st of this year and features the band Dusk. Boyd took the time to answer some questions about his debut record and his musical past and present!

MFL: I have to admit, I have never heard of Boulder Junction, Wisconsin! Give me some fun facts about Boulder Junction.

R Boyd (RB): Fun facts: Boulder Junction is the muskie capital of the world so they say, and I’ve caught a few so it must be true… There are almost 200 lakes within a 10 mile radius of downtown and lots of albino deer.  They look weird!  

MFL: Did you grow up in Boulder Junction? If so, how did this influence your path to choose music? If not, where did you grow up and how did you end up in Boulder Junction?

RB: I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and found a great group of musicians and like minded odd balls to create and make friends with luckily.  That changed my course for the better.  After a lot of time recording and touring I ended up taking a job in northern Wisconsin looking at plants and environmental data collection.  More recently, I’ve been able to free up more of my time to keep writing and creating and growing our homestead, which is exactly what I love to work on–although I do miss seeing friends and family in the city more often than I get to.  

MFL: You have a very decorated musical past! Of all the groups you have been part of, did any in particular launch you strongly onto the path of having a project of your own?

RB: No group in particular launched me into making a record of my own but I’m sure all of them inspired me in different ways.  I was obsessed with writing songs when I first got a guitar.  I remember sitting in my room for hours and coming out with a song that had the same basic melody as Puff the Magic Dragon, haha.  I loved the challenge of writing but needed solitude which I rarely got, always having roommates.  That finally changed when I moved up north.

MFL: How did you choose to have Dusk back you on this record?

RB: On asking Dusk to back me up…I heard Dusk’s demo’s and loved the music immediately.  That and Tenement’s album Predatory Headlights blew me away.  So I had to reach out and see if Crutch of Memory was interested in doing recording projects with other artists and to my surprise they were!  So it happened.

MFL: Who are your personal musical influences and how do the work their way into your process if at all?

RB: My friends are my biggest influences for sure.  They taught me about music, made me a better writer, and always have some interesting tidbit to share.  They’re really wonderful musicians and writers.  But a few favorite artists besides them… Michael Nesmith, Roger Miller, and Gene Clark.

MFL: What is the story behind High Country Skyway and how do the tracks tell that story?

RB: Story behind HCS.  It represents leaving the city, friends and family.  And reflecting more on my surroundings and the state of the world and having the space to do so.  It was me trying to grow as a song writer and really get thoughts down more cohesively, and having no reservations about putting the music out.  

MFL: Now that the record is out, how does the rest of 2020 look for you?

RB: The rest of 2020…Just working on staying sane!  Creating.  Pretty much have another batch of songs ready so that’s fun to think about.  Ready to build on what we started.  

You can follow Dusk (Facebook, Bandcamp, Instagram) on all socials and find R Boyd’s debut album, High Country Skyway , on Bandcamp!

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