Two stepping, hat wearing, honky tonk country singer Ryan McCord wasn’t born in the North but Yellowknife is where his musical identity has blossomed. 

Window washer by day, the self-described part-time musician has released two albums to date, one in 2014 and his latest, From the Railyard to the Woodyard, on Dec. 21. 

Ryan McCord is a window washer by day, honky tonk country musician by night. His newest album, From the Railyard to the Woodyard, was released last month on the winter solstice.
photo courtesy of Pat Kane

Being in Yellowknife for the better part of the last two decades, McCord was seeing friends singing and playing music around campfires.

“It made me think ‘Geez, I’d like to be able to do that too,’” he said. 

He started learning guitar at age 25 and from the joy of performing and writing his own music, McCord said he decided to set his songs down into an album. 

He points to his 13 years living in the Woodyard as having “a lot to do with (the album) coming together.” He said living in Old Town has “been really good about encouraging creativity,” and instrumental in his development as a musician.

Yellowknife’s influence on McCord is particularly distinct in songs like Honky Tonkin’ at the Gold Range – the first bar McCord set foot in upon arrival in the NWT.

“Back then it was smoky and usually country music and lots of people,” he said. “It felt like I was really in the North.”

The Gold Range was the first bar McCord set foot in upon arriving in Yellowknife. He said he looks forward to again performing at the bar, which graces the back of his latest album.
Bandcamp photo

That memory is what inspired McCord to put the famous Yellowknife landmark on the back of his album.

He said the feedback on the new album has been great so far.

His song My Bacon Making Baby was also the subject of one of Western Arctic Moving Pictures’ 48-hour music video competitions

McCord said he was “super happy” with the result. 

“They pretty much did exactly what I wanted,” he said, which was “just a fun, quirky video.”

McCord also played live at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre’s Ever Late Show in December. 

From the Railyard to the Woodyard is available on vinyl and CD at the Down to Earth Gallery and Weaver and Devore, or digitally through bandcamp

When crowds are again permitted to gather, McCord said he looks forward to performing the tracks from the new album for Yellowknife residents at the Gold Range. 

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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