Ryan Wells certainly had the experience and ability to produce his latest album under his Red Means Run banner, having done just that on the previous RMR EPs, and his previous band, Radio Ghost Town, recorded its own material, too. But for “Things You Hold True,” his new RMR album, Wells decided to call in some help.

“This was a completely different experience working with a producer, and I loved it,” said Wells, a Virginia native who is based in Media, outside of Philadelphia.

“I really kind of credit Derek; I think he heard the record before I did,” Wells said of Derek Chafin, who produced the album at his BarnSound studio. Chafin, he said, “deconstructed the songs.” “I felt the songs were strong but I think he had a bigger picture for what the songs could be.”

The songs are tied together by a theme, or at least a common inspiration.

“One of the things that I think thematically makes this record a little bit different than what’s out there is that it approaches love and relationships from a more sort of enduring, more mature view, which I think is an interesting place to write songs from,” Wells said. “Not so much ‘I met a girl on the boardwalk yesterday and I have butterflies’ romance. More from a longer-term relationship and enduring the things that you can go through, whether it’s a marriage or a partnership or a family relationship.”

There is a bit of a departure from previous releases from a musical standpoint as well.

“I listen to a lot of traditional stuff, the Wilcos, the Son Volts, and that sort of thing. This record kind of moves away from some of the alt-country thing. The vibe is somewhere between Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and The Replacements, not that anyone is going to confuse us with those bands; no one one is going to hear this record and think it’s a Tom Petty record.”

Growing up in Virginia in a family that he said was not particularly musical, Wells “started playing the violin in the school orchestra and kind of quickly realized that lane was not for me,” he said with a laugh. He switched to guitar and “was attracted to bands like U2 and REM. So a lot of those ’80s rock bands were the first sort of spark for me. The more I got into it, the more passionate I felt about it.”

He played in cover bands in high school and in college at Virginia Tech, but writing his own material was always more important. He moved to New York City after college in 1998, where he had a revelation after seeing a “godawful” band: “I thought to myself, why did I pay money to come and see this band when I can do better than that? I was almost challenging myself: If you can say you can do something, them do it.”

He started Radio Ghost Town then moved to the Philly area, where he started Red Means Run.

“It took me a while to find my place in the Philly scene,” Wells said. “When I first got here, I felt like there were a lot of hard rock bands and rap and r&b and stuff like that, whereas coming from the New York scene there was a pretty thriving roots/Americana scene, particularly in Brooklyn. It didn’t seem like that in Philly, you have to kind of go and find it, but once you do there are some fantastic players. It’s a different feel. In New York there’s a billion bands a billion venues. The running joke was we never really went on tour, we just toured New York City. But by and large, I think Philly is just as robust.”

“Things You Hold True,” released June 15, is the first album or EP Red Means Run has put out since 2016. In addition to a Covid-induced delay, “frankly, all of us have day jobs and kids and responsibilities, and it took us a while to get in position to record.”

Red Means Run, which takes its name from a line in Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” played a full-band album release show on June 15 at The Royal in Glenside, near Philadelphia. More shows are in the works, Wells said, with a focus on the stretch between New York and Washington, D.C.

“One of the great things about playing the East Coast is you have four or five markets. In California, everything is a 10-hour drive.”

And after a wait of about eight years to have a new release to play live, he’s raring to go: “I’m really proud of it and I want people to hear it.”

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