While doubling as lead guitarist for Montreal/Toronto indie rock band The Dress Whites, Ryan has been gaining praise and recognition as a solo artist. He seems to thrive within a stripped-down setting, with his subtle guitar playing complementing his evocative lyrics. Many of his songs take on the feel of short stories, as in "Broken Side Of Town" – in which the isolation of an old man and his pet dogs is lamented with the line "lonely things they die without a sound".
Musically, Ryan draws on various folk traditions – sometimes a fingerpicked ballad, sometimes a bluegrass stomp. Treading a kind of "alternative-folk" area, Shearing's music has drawn comparisons to contemporary artists such as Iron & Wine and M. Ward. Still, one could describe his voice as being somewhere in between Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen and early Tom Waits. While initially the ragged vocal delivery may seem out of place coming from the 25 year-old, the listener soon warms up to it as an ideal vehicle for heartbreaking melodies.
Ryan has recently released his debut album "By The Stairs" – an original 11 track collection of road songs and drinking ballads produced by Gern f. of The United Steel Workers of Montreal and recorded at UrbanHanded Works Studio. The album features Ryan on vocals, guitars, mandolin and piano;as well as vocal harmonies from Gern f. & Felicity Hamer (of the United Steel Workers of Montreal); and Scott LeBlanc & Denis Woods (of The Dress Whites). The raw and subtle textures of the record carry the listener through scenes of dusty highways and afterhours alleyways.
As he has recently relocated to Toronto, Ryan is now performing at various venues in Toronto and Montreal - both solo and with his backing band The Ghost of Belle Starr.