By Sophie Griffin

Sonny Falls Announces New Self-Titled LP - Due 3/1/2024

As Sonny Falls, Ryan Ensley makes rollicking and resonant rock songs that feel like self-contained journeys. The Chicago bandleader combines breezy, timeless songwriting with a bracing emotional potency that sneaks up on you. There are ample power pop hooks, driving riffs, and a consistently tasteful sensibility in these tunes that he’s been honing across four sprawling albums. His latest, Sonny Falls, feels like a new era for Ensley: not for any drastic sonic reinvention but for the fact that he took his time and didn’t rush himself for the first time in his career. The resulting 11 tracks on this album are his most cohesive, engaging, and immediate yet: a testament to Ensley’s patience and maturity as a songwriter.

“Maybe it was turning 30 but I got a little bit older and I became less concerned with instant gratification,” says Ensley. “When I first started this project, I was very eager just to release albums and play shows. I did everything so fast. With this LP, I've never made anything this slowly and was just really patient with it. I didn’t want any regrets with this process.” No longer tied to the hustle of constantly gigging, writing, and releasing music, Ensley gave himself the space to let the songs come organically, without pressure or an urge to overly tinker with them. He enlisted his longtime friend and collaborator Michael Mac (Mia Joy, Tenci), an engineer who runs the Bim Bom Sound recording studio, to work on songs together. “I had gotten to the point where I felt like I was just spinning my wheels,” says Ensley. “I wanted Mike to have the space to do his thing. I realized my favorite part of music is recording, especially with him. I wanted to savor it. Going in for five days and knocking it out and then doing that over again wasn’t appealing to me at all.”

“There just comes a point where you try and see what you've accomplished and you wonder whether or not what you're doing makes sense,” says Ensley. “There's a lot about pursuing music as a career that doesn’t make sense but I’ve recognized there’s no other options that make sense in other directions either. So, at this point it’s really not even my decision anymore, it’s just what I gotta do.”

Sonny Falls will be releasing March 1 and is now available for pre-order.