With a passel of Jersey-style rock anthems and a willingness to play anywhere, Ryan Ross and the Y-Town Syndicate came out of nowhere last summer and quickly staked a claim.
The “now or never” attitude that fueled Ross — and permeates his songs — is captured on his debut album, “Last House on the Block,” which was released a couple of weeks ago.
The new album is a blast of straight-forward rockers that sound like they’re straight out of Seaside Heights. Think Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi or 1980s Springsteen and you are in the ballpark.
It’s the music that reached into Ross when he was growing up.
“It probably comes from my mom,” says the 1999 Brookfield High graduate. “She passed away when I was young, and it was her favorite music. You start to sing like whoever’s tapes you have around.”
The songs on the new album are populated with people on the run, desperadoes looking for love, and homages to friends and good times gone by. It’s familiar but satisfying fodder for a bar band with high aspirations.
If the Jersey sound was instilled in Ross as a child, the accompanying sense of urgency is all his own.
“You get to a point where something is either going to happen or it’s not, and you have to put all of your efforts into one chance,” he said, explaining the album. “I got into this game later than most people.”
After high school, Ross went to the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. “I was respectfully asked to leave,” he said.
So he headed to Hollywood, Calif., where he attended the Musicians Institute, and tried to launch a career. When that didn’t work out, Ross came back to Youngstown to focus on his music.
To record the album, he assembled a backing band that consisted of some of the best players in town, including Mike Baransky of the Houseband, Chip Byers of the Sensations, Jared Craig and Bill Nelson. Todd Maki produced the album.
Now that he has his sound on the record, Ross and his current bandmates — Nelson, Adam Shuntich, Colin Schott, Nick Franks and Kat Fitzerald — are looking for more converts.
The band has found something of a home at Cricket’s Lounge, on East Midlothian Boulevard in Youngstown, and has gigs there July 12, 18 and 25, with another show July 26 at the Magic Tree in Boardman. The July 12 show is part of a fundraiser with some top local acts, including a rare Asleep performance, plus Hoss and the Juggernauts.
Ross, who teaches guitar at Motter’s Music in Canfield, also has a string of solo shows booked this summer at Leon’s in Howland and the Sports Grille in Cranberry, Pa. He has a standing solo gig at Cricket’s every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m.
For complete show information or to order the new CD, go to syndicatenation.net.