A Review of Serena Ryder CD
"Unlikely Emergency"

"Unlikely Emergency"
by Serena Ryder

Copyright: Isadora Records 2004.
(Isadora Records 7697422852)

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 8/04

Here in Britain, the voice of the moment is that of the 16 year old Joss Stone. Such precociousness is uncanny. But lest we on this side of the Pond think we are uniquely blessed, I have to here report that Canadians are launching on the world a precocious talent of their own. Serena Ryder.

True, she is 5 years the senior of Joss. And this young woman from Ontario is also seemingly a decent musician, and a not-untalented songwriter (so doesn't just cover other artistes' work: indeed apart from the last track, these are all her own songs). But the comparison with Stone is still a legitimate one. Both have drunk deeply at the well of Janis Joplin; but whereas Stone's voice then veers down Aretha Franklin Avenue, Serena's owes more-than-a-bit to that male masturbator's dream of a voice: “Melanie” (Safka). She has that same vibrato coupled with that sexy huskiness. And allied with Joplin's raw power. The result is a voice to put Town Criers out of business.

A very impressive debut international release, the CD has been produced by that Renaissance Man of a fellow, Hawksley Workman: and he is no mean musician himself. Derrick Brady on bass, and Todd Lumley on keyboards make up the quartet of instrumentalists, and ensure a full sound.

Not really persuaded by the songs, but totally persuaded by the deliveries.

The stand-out track was the rather catchy “Just Another Day”. And the other song that did it for me was the one song she did not write, the Gordon/Warren composition “At Last” made famous by many: most latterly, by Eva Cassidy, and before her, Etta James. The degree of sure-footedness with which she approached this, convinced me that she would do well to do more cover versions of “standards”. There was no attempt to ape anyone else: she put her own stamp on the song with that belting voice. This young woman clearly means business.

I wouldn't want to bump into her in a dark alley!

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England

Track List: (no timings shown)

All songs (unless shown) by Serena Ryder.

Ownership, copyright and title of this UK folk music CD review belongs to Dai Woosnam. Ownership, copyright and title are not transferable or assignable to you or other parties regardless of how or if you or other parties use, copy, save, backup, store, retrieve, transmit, display, publish, modify or share the CD review in whole or in part. Please read the "Terms, Conditions and Disclaimer" section on my web site for additional information about using, quoting, or reprinting this CD review.

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