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Serena Ryder - If Your Memory Serves You Well
Review By: Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

Twenty Four year old Serena Ryder sounds like a much older and seasoned singer. Her vocals are charged with emotion and confidence. Ryder is from Canada, having one indie CD under her belt before launching onto a major label disc. Most of this disc is cover songs including one in French. The key word for If Your Memory Serves you Well is eclectic. Ryder starts out nailing "Sisters Of Mercy" by Leonard Cohen. She moves on to many different styles and genres. The musicians on this CD are world class, period. It is a real warm, full sounding recording. Ryder plays acoustic guitar on this record and Steve Mackinnon produced the project.

"Morning Dew", covered by the Grateful Dead and others, is done in a very hot rock version, laced with intensity. Her vocals are emotive and bluesy. Some very neat effects, acoustic guitar, great drums and electric guitar.

"It Doesn't Matter Anymore", recorded by Linda Ronstadt, is done in a much different version, more pop rock oriented, but the same spirit of the song is there. Ryder really puts herself into these songs, she does a very mellow version of John Sebastian's "Coconut Grove".

"You Were On My Mind" (Fricker) never sounded better, a real neat bouncy version, she puts down some great backup vocals to herself.

"Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream" is haunting with the effects and her strong emotive vocals.

Ryder sounds even better on her own songs, getting stronger on "Weak In the Knees", a real good acoustic rock number.

"Out Of The Blue" is my personal favorite. It is a bouncy piece with some great hooks and lyrics; very creative music with some unexplored territory, texture wise. Love the tone of the acoustic guitar here, very crisp.

Ryder fits the mold of singer-songwriters like Mindy Smith, Joan Osborne and Shelby Lynne. She actually got in their league pretty quick. Remember this name, she is someone special.

Back Porch Records -EMI
 


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