Michael S. Ryan has been attracting a lot of attention from radio, newspapers and other media lately.
Having just launched a brand new album, this would normally be very exciting for one-half of the Halifax musical duo, The Town Heroes. However, this particular spark of publicity is for Ryan’s part in a headline-grabbing story about the possibility of Hollywood celebrity Jennifer Aniston buying property in Nova Scotia.
“The only reason that it’s in the media right now is because I made a post about it,” says the Inverness-raised frontman about the mainstream media’s recent reports about the Friends star possibly moving to Cape Breton.
It all began after Ryan recently visited Inverness recently and was treated to a whimsical rumour about the Aniston real estate purchase. He innocuously posted the gossip on social media — not thinking it would be perceived as anything more than a bit of casual amusement.
“The next day, that post was shared by a bunch of social media sites and was on a bunch of radio stations,” laughs Ryan, noting he doesn’t necessarily believe it to be true. “There’s zero proof. There’s nothing that actually ties this into being real other than me hearing a rumour, me posting about it and I guess, since I’m in the entertainment industry, people saw the post and kind of ran with it.”
With the sudden swell of rumours mostly dispelled, Ryan is now hoping he can get around to what really interests him — talking about The Town Heroes’ sixth studio album, Home.
The Halifax duo’s first concept album, the nine-tracks are told from a trio of perspectives as each manoeuvres through a past summer in Cape Breton.
“I’ve always had songs on every album that were tied to home in some capacity — whether it was missing home when you were away from it or what home means to me,” says Ryan, adding that Home is different in it’s depth, energy and spirit. “It’s a fun album. We want it to be a throwback to a different time and bring up a lot of nostalgia.”
While the band began recording the songs in January 2020, most were written prior to the onset of the pandemic. However, as Ryan soon discovered, COVID-19 only served to make the sentiment of fun songs about nostalgia even more relevant.
“We felt that during the pandemic that people just need to be entertained,” says Ryan, who adds he and Town Heroes partner Bruce Gillis became more active on social media. “That’s partially why we were doing all the online stuff — just to keep people laughing basically for a lot of things and throw our music in there. Then we realized that releasing a fun album during this pandemic would be a positive light out into a place where there hasn’t been a lot of positive things.”
With that new album now available but another wave of COVID-19 cascading across Canada — creating further challenges for working musicians — it seems The Town Heroes will have to attempt to promote their latest music by means other than touring.
“We have kind of always stuck to social media to do different things and right now, we are kind of in the middle of this big Jennifer Aniston thing so we’ll see where all that takes us,” says Ryan. “But we’ll try to engage with our audience online and we’ll be playing as many shows as we can.”
The band’s effort to engage their fans begins on October 9, when Ryan and Gillis will be headlining a Home release show for Ryan’s nostalgic album at Halifax’s Marquee Ballroom — a long-awaited gig that will surely create a few more memories for Ryan.
“We’ve never headlined a show at the Marquee,” admits the singer-songwriter. “We’ve seen so many amazing shows there and some of our favourite bands released albums there so it just feels like an amazing opportunity (and) we’re going to bring our best.”
For more information on Home, visit The Town Heroes website.