Philadelphia native singer/songwriter Ryan Tennis performs at Ware Center

Luke Helker
Staff Writer

Ryan Tennis’ sound is comparable to Paul Simon, Bill Withers, and Martin Sexton.

On Friday, November 2, Philadelphia native singer/songwriter Ryan Tennis visited Lancaster to perform at the Ware Center.
Those who live in Lancaster know how the Ware Center operates and how they bring in a huge music crowd.
Combine that with the fact that it was also a “First Friday” – there was a solid crowd for Tennis’ show.
However, he had to share the stage with a group of ballet girls – nothing wrong with that, the girls performed beautifully, but the girls and their parents were not necessarily there to see Tennis. He had to work with the crowd to get people interested in his performance.
When dealing with any singer/songwriter as a opposed to a full band, the live presence is different because it is just one man playing guitar and singing. Having an arsenal of really good songs is what is needed in order to win a crowd over.
I have been seeing Ryan Tennis almost every year since 2008 and every time he gets better and better.
His songwriting is improving dramatically, his voice is solid, and he is captivating.
He just released a new album through Milkboy Records called “Pack Light But Bring Everything.”
His show consisted of a few twenty minute slots in between three ballet performances by the young girls.
In total, he played about twenty songs, most of which were new ones from “Pack Light But Bring Everything.”
Some tunes were old favorites from previous albums and he also dropped a few covers in as well.
Tennis is a big Paul Simon fan. He covered “Graceland” and “The Boy in the Bubble”, which if you know anything about Paul Simon, you know how huge those songs are and he performed these hits perfectly.
One unique thing about a guy like Tennis is that the songs he writes can take two completely different shapes – they can be performed solo or with a full band.

Want more information on Ryan Tennis? Visit him at: and his Facebook page at:

Most of the time his albums have a full band, so being able to see him perform these songs acoustic takes on two unique and engaging perspectives.
It is hard for an artist to write songs that perfectly fit both sides of this acoustic/full band spectrum.
There are plenty of people that do that, but there are not many who do it well, but Tennis is not one of those songwriters. He is able to transform his full band pieces to softer acoustic tunes with ease.
For more information on Ryan Tennis, visit his website at and check him out iTunes.
Tune in next week for a review of his new album “Pack Light But Bring Everything.”