High Tone Records
Classy Songstress Delivers Wonderfully Mature and Literate Album.
Opening song The Darkest Stars is a beautifully dark Jazzy-Noir heart-tugging tale; featuring the type of cool trumpet playing and tsch-tsch drumming I would associate with someone like Chet Baker; yet will have even the most casual of listeners tipping their ears towards the speakers and inhaling every word.
That ‘vibe’ stays with us through delicate ventures like Secret Life and the equally brittle Pulling For Romeo; whereas Flake White Heart flirts with a Modern Folk melody but fits in perfectly.
The harmonies and gentle melodic beat on The Broken News and Crack In The Sky could be latter day Cowboy Junkies songs, yet they have a completely timeless quality to them too.
The tempo finally picks up for Real Gone Girl which closes the album; and I’m pretty sure will become even ‘rockier’ (?) when played live; but not quite fast enough to dance to…..this is music to listen to.
One song worth mentioning is the bittersweet Passing Through, a co-write with Marshall Crenshaw and something I wouldn’t be surprised to find picked up by a Major Artist; which would be good for the bank balance but sad too as this song is well worthy of radio airplay.
I have to swing back to track #2 for my absolutely favourite song, Cigarette. Where she compares an unrequited love as being as much a ‘habit’ as smoking a Cigarette and just as short lived. Cleverly written and expertly executed it’s already been put into my ‘favourite sad songs’ playlist on the I-Phone.
Although the record is under Kelly Ryan’s name; this actually feels like a band effort; with Don Dixon’s bass and the drumming from Jim Brock holding everything together like glue while the occasional trumpet playing from Jon Thornton alongside Kelley’s distinctive tones and superior guitar playing all combine to make this album stand out in a very competitive market place.
I guess there must be someone I can compare Kelley Ryan’s velvety smooth voice too; but I can’t and in this wacky world of musical genres and sub-genres I find myself being drawn back to the age-old, all encompassing adage of ‘singer-songwriter’ for Kelley Ryan; as her haunting vocal performances and very sophisticated songs straddle several areas without fitting directly into any particular single one.
Released 1st June 2017