Ryder: Unlikely Emergency
By: Ami Lieberman
I randomly stumbled upon
website after a string of other sites led me there. After a first
listen of music samples on her page, I happily accepted the job
of writing this review. This hidden gem of vocal flair made me realize
just how many artists with true skill exist without recognition.
Finding Serena, with her colossal talent, was like finding a precious
needle in the technological haystack we currently call the internet.
Serena Ryders album, is her debut full-length North American
release, but dont begin to think that shes inexperienced.
Although in her early twenties, Serena possesses quite an ability
to write and play music. But, she was never vocally trained, so
it comes as quite a shock that she is able to sing so well. Playing
mostly around Canada, Serena has built up quite a following and
continues to grow as a musician. Her album is a demonstration of
wisdom, poetic freedom, and vocal surprise. Shes the Janis
Joplin of modern folk rock; a young Melissa Etheridge, with an ability
to fascinate her listeners with a roar in one song, and a sweet
melody in another.
Sing Sing is an
upbeat song that starts the album off in a positive way. Lyrically
and musically, it shows that Serena is enthusiastic about music
(as any true artist should be, I believe). This song also provides
foreshadowing to the rest of the album: Dont you dare hold
nothing back, she sings loud and proud. And, Serena indeed is
true to her words: the rest of the album is honest, pure, and poetically
fresh--- it's as though reading snippets out of a private journal.
An a cappella version
of the classic At Last completes the album and left me with
my mouth hanging wide open, frustrated that such an artist existed
so long without my knowledge. In a musical world where artists are
recognized for anything other than talent (i.e., William Hung),
it is a shame those with true ability often are overlooked. Luckily
for Serena, her fame on the independent circuit is giving her a
chance to be heard.