In celebration of our summer festival issue, we visited Americana musician Ryan Kickland in his west Rapid City home. The avid collector gave us a tour of his ranch home that he shares with wife, Mel, and his children Alia, 19, and Syd, 17.
“It’s an heirloom in my wife’s family, and they keep handing it around,” said Ryan of a piece from Pringle, S.D. “It’s an old postal service P.O. Box mailbox.”
FURNITURE AS ART
“I like furniture that serves as art,” said Ryan. This includes vintage stereos and record players that are sprinkled all over the home. One of his favorite pieces is a stand built specifically for 78 players, which he says are hard to find.
Another conversation piece is their vintage media stand, which has a built-in fireplace.
The couple’s go-to style is Midcentury, which they typically find at secondhand stores when they travel for unique artwork and décor. When asked where the lamps in the sunroom were from, Ryan laughed and answered, “From this store called Target, have you heard of it? We’ve been into Midcentury for years now, and it’s been catching on recently, and current stores are starting to replicate pieces. They’re doing a good job with it.”
The Kicklands have a lot of natural light from windows on the main floor, which is perfect for their plethora of plants.
The more we walked around for our tour, we started noticing trees and asked Ryan about it. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders, “Eh, we like trees.” As they went from store to store, they started gravitating towards pieces and artwork that included trees.
THE RECORD LOUNGE
It’s incredible when you walk into the basement and see “The Record Lounge.” The shelves, which have vinyl records in order alphabetically and by genre, are only a glimpse into how many he has. “I’ve got another closet full,” he said. Ryan has around 7,000 hard-to-find vintage records, including 45 RPM vinyl records that he swaps out in frames above the shelves.
Amongst the collection are The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and more. Ryan pointed out a rare Beatles album, Yesterday and Today, which had the “inoffensive” cover pasted and coming apart over-top the infamous and controversial “butcher” cover.
“I’m at the point that I’m after such rare stuff, that I know what I’m hunting for,” he said of his vinyl collection.
Some of the most hard-to-find vinyl, though, are from the ‘90s, says Ryan. “That’s really hard to find, because original pressings of anything in the ‘90s – Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam – they weren’t really pressing vinyl in the ‘90s, so they did very limited runs since everyone was listening to CDs.”
Ryan uses Microsoft Excel sheet to keep his entire inventory organized.
Mel also collects vintage cameras.
One of the biggest draws to the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home was the room they had for their home studios. Mel is a metalsmith, and owns Earthen Creations and MoonLit Creations. Kickland has a full time job, and also creates music in his home studio for television shows and films. “I do all sorts of different music, so it’s nice to do licensing, so I can make whatever I want,” he said.
Guitars are displayed on the walls throughout the studio and basement. “I’m always getting guitars; I’ve got a problem,” he laughed, guesstimating he has around 20 in total. “It’s just me [in the studio], so I try to create [music] in a small space where I can control the sound and the ambiance.”
Ryan has a shelf of random items, including the first run of a He-Man action figure his grandmother gave him.
The Kicklands enjoy collecting rocks from various places they visit. “We’re rock hounds, so you’ll see rocks all around,” said Ryan. Whether they’re found in stores on road trips, or through rock hunting, rocks can be found on shelves and other areas of the home. The couple have lived in places like Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Tennessee, and have brought rocks back with them from all of those locations when they moved back to South Dakota seven years ago. Ryan says Mel will clean the rocks occasionally to keep them looking up to par.
Ryan has developed a love for lamps over the years, and the more ornate and quirky, the better. “Old lamps, I can’t resist. I like items that date back to the late ‘50s/early ‘60s where they tried to make them look futuristic before they knew what the future was going to look like … I love that.” One gift from his mother-in-law last Christmas mixed two collections, with a vintage lamp that has a tree design as the base.
The Kicklands launched and owned Black Hills Vinyl, but have since sold it to focus on their companies.
With all of their extensive collections, and with such an eclectic variety of décor, it could seem overwhelming to keep everything organized and not cluttered. “It takes lot of deliberation. We tweak and tweak and tweak,” said Ryan. “And we’ve always done that; my wife and I have been together since we were teenagers. We like the same stuff and help each other out.”
“We have a whole list of things we want to do,” said Ryan of their ‘50s home that was renovated and had additions (like the sunroom) in the ‘90s. “We’re going to get to do the next phase of knocking stuff down.”
Kickland released his new album, Special Magic, in May that is available as a CD or for download. For more information on Kickland’s music, visit kickland.com.