Ryan Green and Cameron Hood had been using Boston as their home base for near-constant gigging on the American college circuit, but they missed Tucson, where both grew up and to which they regularly returned.
Despite the fact that both musicians still use cell phones with 617 area codes, they're back in the Old Pueblo, at least when not on the road.
We started touring enough on both the East and West coasts that it made sense (to be in Tucson)," Green says. "It sure is cheaper in terms of the cost of living. I mean, people say real estate is so expensive here, but it's still nothing like Boston. And it was nice to be back near our families."
Ryanhood will celebrate the holidays, Tucson and musical friendships by playing Ryanhood and Friends' Fourth Annual Christmas at Congress on Friday, Dec. 28, at Club Congress. The show, which will likely sell out, will start at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $7 in advance and $8 the day of the show. For more information, call 622-8848.
The concert will feature appearances by special guests from bands including Al Perry and the Cattle, <0x2026> music video?, American Android, Sunshine Brothers and Tater Pig, among others.
"These are people we have written songs with, have played with and known a long time," Hood says. "These are people we have considered heroes, and heroes we have learned to love as friends. It's a cool chance to show our respect to each other."
Green and Hood, now both 26, met as students at University High School; during that time, they played in various rock bands. After graduation, Hood continued at the University of Arizona, while Green studied at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston.
But they stayed in touch, eventually reuniting to refresh themselves and each other after getting burnt out playing in larger, more contentious bands.
"Cameron was in a band in Tucson, and I was in a band in Boston," Green says. "We would call each other and share our respective difficulties in the larger-band dynamic. So Cameron came out, and we started playing acoustic guitars and singing together as an escape from the bigger electric-band scene."
"Not only are we a duo that has a love for each other, and we have each other's backs; we found it was simply fun to make music again."
Ryanhood are nearing completion on their third studio CD, The World Awaits, which they hope to release in the first half of 2008, Green said.
After the holidays are over, the guys will resume their busy touring schedule.
"Fortunately, I guess, we have the energy for touring," Green says. "We're going out for four months straight in January, which we have never done before, so we'll see how we are doing at the end of that.
"And if the new album is ready to be released during that time, we'll try to come back to Tucson for a CD-release gig, but we might have to make it a quick, fly-in-and-out show."
Hood credits Ryanhood's strong fan base as the primary reason for the duo's success.
"The record company does not make you a band; it's the fans. If we give a little and look out to the audience and see how the songs land, they reciprocate and play them right back to us. It's not a matter of, 'Look at us; we're rock stars.'"
Not only do Hood and Green respect their audience, but they owe a debt of gratitude to those local musicians who've helped and encouraged them.
"Al Perry has just been awesome," says Green, who has played a bit with Perry. "We love him, and he has sort of taken us under his wing musically, and given us a lot of love. We're going to do our thing, then hand the night off to him. Al always takes it up a notch."
Hood credits Sand Rubies lead singer David Slutes with sneaking him into Club Congress for the first time.
"When I was about 16, there was nothing I wanted to do more than to be downtown in the Club Congress music scene. I would go to the TAMMIES (the Tucson Weekly-sponsored Tucson Area Music Awards), which were held outside there at Congress, and I would just look through the gate and hear what I could hear.
"And here pulls up Dave Slutes, who is playing that night. And he asks me what I'm doing. I tell him that I'm only 16 and can't get in, so he tells me to carry his amp into the club and leave it backstage. But he says, 'Just make sure you look like you know what you're doing.' So I did, and I was in."
Hood and Green have since become more familiar with Club Congress.
"It was a huge thrill the first two times we played there," Hood says. "Now, it's so much like home to me--Club Congress and Tucson. We've played from Maine to Alaska, and I don't feel like I am at home until I've played at Congress again." Gene Armstrong