Ryan Saliman and his “Band of Strangers”

Back in NY, how did you come up with the idea of “The Band of Strangers”? And how did this group, “The Band of Strangers” now, come together?

When I first moved to NYC I met a group of musicians from Austin Texas who introduced me to Alt-Country. After writing songs and being produced /mentored by Jason Blum, I wrote my first full length solo album “The Faces of Sal”. I wanted a steady group of musicians to perform with so I got suggestions from different friends and musicians, selected the players and started rehearsing. At the first rehearsal no one in the room had ever met before so I jokingly referred to us as “The Band of Strangers”. It sounded cool and stuck.
When I moved to LA, I decided to start up the band again, but needed a new cast of strangers. While bar tending, I met a fellow bartender, Lianne. She came to one of my solo shows, we quickly became friends and started performing together. Lianne and I eventually went to see an old friend of mine who was a dancer in a burlesque show which was co founded by Johnny. He was also the guitarist for the show and his performance blew me away. We exchanged information and in a year I’d ask him to join the band. My friend Shana Halligan (formerly of Bitter Sweet) suggested Chris Lovejoy for drums and after hearing him play there was no doubt that he was perfect for the group. Chris then suggested that Matt be our bassist. Matt fit perfectly and brought great ideas to the band.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

That’s a hard question to limit to a few since I love all styles/genres of music, but I’ll name some of my many influences: Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Hank Williams, Billie Holiday, Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits, Beethoven, Ryan Adams, Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, Wilco, Radiohead, Emmylou Harris, Led Zeppelin, Lucinda Williams, Motown and Staxs records (too many wonderful artist to list), Steve and Justin Townes Earle, Tom Petty and The Heart Breakers, Willie Nelson, Patty Griffin, Bob Marley, Toots & the Maytals, Woody Guthrie, Roy Orbison, Paul Simon, Neil Young… This list could go on longer than you’d want to read and it always seems like an impossible question to answer.


“At the first rehearsal no one in the room had ever met before so I jokingly referred to us as “The Band of Strangers”. It sounded cool and stuck”



© Kevin Sharp

What musician would you like to perform with?

Probably The Rolling Stones. Besides being living legends, they have more energy and passion on stage (even at their age) then almost anyone else performing today. It would be like getting a lesson in living as well as an intense musical experience.

Where do you record your music?

Our last recordings were done at Kingsize Sound Labs in Eagle Rock and produced by Dave Trumfio

What was the best venue you played at?

Probably The Echo. The crowd was just so responsive and into our sound. It’s always nice to play in front of a strange crowd who loves what you do. Winning over a audience of people who haven’t heard you perform is a huge high.

What brought you to LA?

After 9 years of performing in NYC and releasing my first album, I decided to come to LA to expand my musical and performing experiences, find financial security and get a change of scenery. I need to keep changing things up in order to grow as an artist.
Like everyone else in LA I love the weather the most, the NYC winters were getting tougher and tougher. I miss the energy of NYC though, there is nothing like it!

The Band of Strangers

Diverse, Energetic, Yeehaa

Do you write jointly with the rest of the band members?

It used to be mostly me bringing songs I’d write to the band, but that’s changing a bit. Recently there’s been a lot more collaboration and hopefully that leads to even a more unique “Strangers” sound.

Where do you like to write? What is the place that inspires you the most in LA to write music?

Where no one else can hear me. The sunsets over the ocean

“We’re heading back to the studio soon to record our first full album. We’re in a real solid place as a group and it should really come through in these recordings”

© Kevin Sharp


Photo credit Kevin Sharp