From The Desk Of Rhett Miller: Ryan Cronin

Rhett Miller cut his teeth with the alt-country Old 97’s, but years before the band released Too Far To Care, the catchiest and most compelling distillation of its cow-punk-meets-Brit-Invasion template, Miller put out his own little-heard first solo album, Mythologies. Now 2,800 miles from Dallas, where he got his start, Miller is a family man and has released his fifth studio album, The Dreamer. On all counts, the LP marks a return to basics for Miller after three studio albums that toned down the twang, ratcheted up the pop smarts and layered on the studio frills. Miller will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our recent feature on him.

Miller: I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like. In high school, it was Eric Fischl with his blunt, broken characters inhabiting creepy suburban scenes. These days, I’m into Ron English, whose mad scientist approach yields art that defies classification and comments brilliantly and scathingly on our culture. I’ve recently become familiar with the work of a painter/sculptor by the name of Ryan Cronin who resides, as do I, in New York’s Hudson Valley. His work is graphic and bold, not the throwaway folk art you might find in the dressing room of a House Of Blues but similarly crude. He works mostly with house paint on large pieces of wood. His stuff is primitive and, thus, visceral. Cleverness abounds, but not merely for its own sake. And Ryan is a weirdo. And don’t we need our artists to be weirdos?

Video after the jump.

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