Ryan ‘Gooch’ Nelson (b. 1985) was born and raised in Southern New Jersey, where he began playing guitar as a teenager.  When he was 18, on January 1st, 2004, Gooch was paralyzed in a tragic car accident. He broke his neck and was left a c7 quadriplegic. He spent 6 months in Magee Rehab Hospital in Philadelphia relearning how to do everything from brushing his teeth to eating food.

Two years later, Gooch taught himself to play guitar by putting a glass slide on one hand and a thumb pick on the other. Soon after he began playing slide, Gooch started writing original songs.  He started a band with high school friends called 61 North and, during the eight years that followed, opened for acts like Zac Brown Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers Band.  The band also released two full length albums in that time.  Over the past couple of years, Gooch has sung and played guitar with a number of other bands, including the Reverb Brothers and the Killer Beez, both rooted in country blues and groove music.

In October 2014, Gooch was signed by Grammy-winning music producer Joe Nicolo.  Ryan and his new band, Gooch and the Motion, are currently recording their first album with Joe’s new label, Blacbird Records.


In The Motion: Gooch’s Journey, filmmaker Jonah Stern tells Gooch’s story beginning with his accident and ending with the release of his first album.  The documentary recounts Gooch’s experiences overcoming his disabilities while tracking the challenges he encounters every day of his life, from when he wakes up until he goes to sleep.  The movie shows how Gooch’s diligence, creativity, and perseverance took him from lying in a hospital bed to playing sold-out shows and recording an album with legendary music producer, Joe Nicolo.