Sunday, April 29, 2007

Serena Ryder: If Your Memory Serves You Well


When I first put this CD on I was expecting something exceptional. Some friends had told me about the young woman from Ontario that they saw at SXSW. “Incredible vocal range” and “she took command of the stage” were a few of their comments. Before the end of the first stanza of “Sisters of Mercy” I had to stop in my tracks, sit back in my chair and take it all in.

Serena Ryder is a 24 year old powerhouse from Millbrook, Ontario. Her song, "Just Another Day", off her 2005 CD Unlikely Emergency brought her to the attention of many Canadian radio listeners and set the stage for her new release, If Your Memory Serves You Well.

Her three octave range and emotion-filled voice has been described as smoky, bluesy, and soulful. The best description I could muster was simply, amazing!

If Your Memory Serves You Well is an eclectic study of Canadian songwriting set into motion when Frank Davies, founder of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, invited Serena Ryder to perform at a press conference to announce the 2005 inductees. He was so taken with Ryder’s vocal talent that he suggested she make an album of classic Canadian gems. Included are Dylan’s “This Wheel’s on Fire” (co-written by The Band’s Rick Danko), Percy Faiths' "My Heart Cries for You”, Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy", a powerful rendition of Bonnie Dobson's "(Take Me For a Walk in the) Morning Dew", Sylvia Tyson's classic "You Were on My Mind", and Ed McCurdy's 1949 anti-war anthem "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream”. Ryder also included three of her own compositions that indicate she may be a candidate for the Hall of Fame herself one day.

Note: All files are streaming audio.

Serena Ryder - Sisters Of Mercy.asx

Serena Ryder - This Wheel's On Fire.asx

Serena Ryder - My Heart Cries For You.asx

Serena Ryder is currently on tour in the States. Catch her at one of these shows in May:
5/4 Roxy Theatre Atlanta, GA
5/7 Living Room New York, NY
5/9 Mercury Lounge New York, NY
5/11 Tin Angel Philadelphia, PA
5/12 Star Hill Charlottesville, VA (join me for this show)
5/13 Jammin’ Java Washington D.C.
5/15 Center for the Arts Univ Buffalo, NY
5/18-20 Non-Comm-vention Louisville, KY
5/22 The Mint Los Angeles, CA
5/23 Hotel Café Los Angeles, CA

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