Today Los Angeles’s Ryan Pollie is releasing Live at the Grove, a new five-song EP featuring live versions of songs from his self-titled album that came out last year.
Filmed in Idyllwild, watch new performances of these songs while listening to the EP in full HERE.
“At the time we filmed the videos, I remember feeling a few things about the monotony of live performances and the shows we were playing,” Pollie explained. “I wanted to play outside in the sunshine, and was used to playing a lot of dark bars and clubs. There is a lot of separation between us and the audience, with a stage, the lights, loud speakers and all. I wanted to create something a little more inviting where it's a bit easier to see us smiling and having a good time with each other. Plus it was a great excuse to drive out into the canyons.”
Pollie previously released two albums as Los Angeles Police Department and as he started working on his self-titled studio album he prepared himself to shed the protective barrier of his old band name — to make music, simply, as himself. And then he got cancer. Nearing the end of his twenties, Pollie had already been mulling over the big questions: spirituality, purpose, the fleeting nature of existence. "I just wrote a record about mortality and whether or not I believe in anything, and then I'm faced with the biggest challenge of my life," he says.
Open, searching and vulnerable, living through illness becomes just one chapter in a record that celebrates living in general and all the difficulties and surprises that come with it. More than anything, Ryan Pollie is a testament to the power of vulnerability — to the magic that happens when you open yourself up and invite the world inside, no matter how frightening or uncertain it may be.
Tomorrow, Pollie presents the first-ever Highland Park Folk Festival. Taking place from Noon – 7 PM in Tierra De La Culebra Park, the festival will have performances from musicians and comedians as well as an outdoor flea market; it is free for all ages.
“I feel pretty anxious a lot of the time in venues, a little claustrophobic,” Pollie said. “I'm a tall gentleman, so I get in everybody's way - and the big bass frequencies make me a bit short of breath. I thought about my ideal show to see where I'd feel comfortable, and my ideal show to play - they ended up being the same thing. I'm throwing my first ever concert, the Highland Park Folk Festival in hopes to create that ideal show. It's all my friends, a ton of upcoming musicians who's music feels at home with the birds and squirrels in the trees. We have local comedians, as well as an outdoor festival flea market with clothes, records, books, artists, caricatures, healers, and more. Should be a real shakedown.”