A natural storyteller with a deep compassion for the lost and forgotten voices of our culture, Barb Ryman expects music to be more than entertaining. With a crystalline voice and skillfully played guitar, Barb delivers a rich mosaic of contemporary folk, drawing from country blues, early rock, Celtic balladry, and old-time gospel. Her latest CD, CATCH THE SUNSET, a top played album on the Folk DJ charts is a sweet melodic ride flowing from intimate personal confessions to wise cultural commentaries to whimsical love stories and adventures of the heart. Ryman’s songs have received airplay on folk programs across the nation including the nationally syndicated, Midnight Special and Nevada City’s KVMR. From the Cedar Cultural Center in Minnesota, to Uncle Calvin’s in Texas, and from the Portland Folk Society in the West to Club Passim in the East, Barb draws in audiences with her captivating live concerts as she tours the U.S.
Ryman is distinguished for her ability to write music that heals. Having lost her father, a navy pilot, when she was four, Barb was intuitively drawn to the healing professions and became an accomplished speech-language therapist who helped children with special needs develop communication skills. Barb went on for her masters in counseling psychology, facilitated grief groups and delved into other spiritual pursuits. This background seamlessly integrated itself into her music, making her concerts both entertaining and restoring.
Her career launched in 1996 when the Minneapolis Star Tribune ranked her CD, LAY ME OPEN, a top ten release across all genres, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press proclaimed “You can’t help being amazed at the power of her presence and the sound of her voice. . . you can’t help but listen.” CATCH THE SUNSET, Ryman’s sixth CD features guest musicians of Prairie Home Companion fame, Peter Ostroushko and Prudence Johnson. Barb is also known for her topical humor, and in 2006, ABC television bought rights to her satirical song “All American Dysfunctional Family” to promote a sit-com pilot. Currently Barb is preparing for her CD release concert tour.
“Barb Ryman proves herself a strong vocalist, talented composer, and an astutely irreverent student of the human condition.” - Dirty Linen
“Charming vulnerability and a rare knack for detailing the profound truths of everyday life. Her clear, ringing voice is reminiscent of Sandy Denny or Iris Dement.” Minneapolis Star Tribune - Jim Meyer
“Ryman’s songs of faith display wonder, awe and acceptance.” - Sing Out!
“Besides an unaffected sense of humor, Ryman possesses a sharp eye for social criticism and a truly moving compassion for human struggle...” - City Pages (Minneapolis/St Paul)
“Ryman has a clear and winsome voice, a ready sense of humor, and a short story writer’s flair for detail.” Minneapolis Star Tribune - Tom Surowicz
Selected Venues Barb has played:
• Cedar Cultural Center, MN
• Swallow Hill, CO
• Club Passim, MA
• Vanilla Bean, CT
• Gravity Lounge, VA
• The Purple Onion, NC
• Espresso Garden, CA
• Bluebird Café, TN
• Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse, TX
• Two Way Street, IL
• CSPS/Legion Arts, IA
• Maple Street Chapel Series, IL
• Cousin Andy’s Coffeehouse, IL
• Fine Line Music Café, MN
• Main Street Café, FL
• The Iron Horse, KS
• The Back Room, KS
• Cosmic Café, CA
• Portland Folk Society, OR
• National Music Museum, SD
• Wisconsin Singer Songwriter Series, WI
• Walnut Valley Folk Festival, Winfield KS - New Song Winner
• Telluride Bluegrass Festival, CO - Troubadour Finalist
• Fox Valley Music Festival, IL
• National Women’s Music Festival, IN
• Midpoint Music Festival, OH
• Storyhill Festival, MT
• The Morning Show - Minnesota Public Radio
• WFMT - Midnight Special
• KVNO - River City Folk
• FM Odyssey with Fred Migliore
• Live In Studio One
Barb Ryman - acoustic guitar and vocals
Catch The Sunset (2011- Renegade)
Earthbound (2007- Renegade)
Falling Down To Heaven (2002 - Renegade)
Like A Tree (1998 - Renegade)
Lay Me Open (1995 - Renegade)
Winds Of Good Fortune (1993 - Renegade)
Catch The Sunset
Arms Across The Sea
Unicorns And Castles
Nursery Rhymes (alt. mix)
Rapture of the Socks
[+ Show ]
Barb Ryman's voice has never sounded lovelier, more pliant and soothing than on the 14 tracks of...Barb Ryman's voice has never sounded lovelier, more pliant and soothing than on the 14 tracks of her new CD, "Catch the Sunset." It's beautifully produced in a cozy Red House Records kind of way, by all-pro percussionist Marc Anderson, and has a great supporting cast, including Peter Ostroushko, Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and even John Munson of Semisonic, who turns up to do some charming whistling on the album's most idyllic, poppy number, "Picture Us." Yet for all its prettiness and polish, the irony is that "Catch the Sunset" largely features Ryman's poignant side....You might want to bring a hanky to her CD release party this weekend, ready to whip out when she performs "Confession" or "Arms Across the Sea." (7 p.m. Sun., Bryant-Lake Bowl. $10-$12.) Surowicz
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“Barb Ryman proves herself a strong vocalist, talented composer, and an astutely irreverent student ...“Barb Ryman proves herself a strong vocalist, talented composer, and an astutely irreverent student of the human condition.”
[+ Show ]
“Charming vulnerability and a rare knack for detailing the profound truths of everyday life. Her cl...“Charming vulnerability and a rare knack for detailing the profound truths of everyday life. Her clear, ringing voice was reminiscent of Sandy Denny or Iris Dement.”
[+ Show ]
“Ryman’s songs of faith display wonder, awe and acceptance.” Like A Tree CD 2002 "She's a ground...“Ryman’s songs of faith display wonder, awe and acceptance.” Like A Tree CD 2002
"She's a grounded mystic" Earthbound CD 2007
[+ Show ]
"Ryman has a clear and winsome voice, a ready sense of humor, and a short story writer’s flair for d..."Ryman has a clear and winsome voice, a ready sense of humor, and a short story writer’s flair for detail.”
[+ Show ]
"You can’t help being amazed by the power of her presence and the sound of her voice. You can’t hel..."You can’t help being amazed by the power of her presence and the sound of her voice. You can’t help but listen.'
[+ Show ]
"Her voice is like a soft haunt from a ghost just stopping by to give you a gentle massage. But whil..."Her voice is like a soft haunt from a ghost just stopping by to give you a gentle massage. But while the spirit may visit only temporarily, the feel stays with you for days."
[+ Show ]
“Besides an unaffected sense of humor, Ryman possesses a sharp eye for social criticism and a truly ...“Besides an unaffected sense of humor, Ryman possesses a sharp eye for social criticism and a truly moving compassion for human struggle..."
[+ Show ]
The Minneapolis Star Tribune had it right. Barb Ryman wears her heart on her sleeve. All the better ...The Minneapolis Star Tribune had it right. Barb Ryman wears her heart on her sleeve. All the better to touch yours. Try not to be moved by the poignancy of "So Hard to Let You Go" in the face of Ryman's multi-leveled, plaintive repeat of, "I can't move it all". It's a tale of loss made more tender through simple details ("stored in boxes in the room behind the den", "we had plans to paint this room") and a simple arrangement that colors Ryman's Cotton picking with splashes of steel drum, whispered harmonies, and accordion. Another highlight, "Ballad of a Drowning Woman", tells the harrowing tale of a desperate single mother on a journey to the New World. Ryman effectively creates a piece that could be a traditional ballad with authentic-sounding lyrics ("I begged that a maid or a servant I'd be/to earn passage for my family") and more clean finger picking, this time in d minor, the saddest key of all. Everyone's journeying somewhere on "Falling Down to Heaven". Grandpa prepares to "Fly Like an Eagle" to heaven. The protagonist of "Born in a Snowstorm" wrestles with her faith in Jesus as she moves north. The CD finds Ryman uncharacteristically serious throughout, on her own spiritual quest for rebirth voiced in songs like "Paradise" and the countryish anthem "Rise Again". Along for the trip is some high-powered help in the form of luminaries like Irish-American accordion virtuoso John Williams, Steve Tibbetts, and Peter Ostroushko (soloing exquisitely in "Rise Again"). And what an emotional, sweetly acoustic trip it is.
David Kleiner - 2002
"upbeat lyrics -- the kind that make you wanna dance around your living room when no one's watching"
Minor7th.com - 2007
Barb Ryman’s talent unfolds on ‘Lay Me Open’
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I’ve never met Barb Ryman, but after listening to her new album, “Lay Me Open,” I feel like I know h...I’ve never met Barb Ryman, but after listening to her new album, “Lay Me Open,” I feel like I know her. Family, lovers, ex-lovers, heroes, warts and all.
Which, of course, is what music does. Or is supposed to do. Alas, too many careful souls out there who call themselves “singer / songwriters” these days reveal nothing of themselves to their listeners and merely execute a connect-the-dots exercise in rhyme-and-gloss.
But taking in the Twin Cities-based Ryman’s sophomore effort is a lot like sitting across the table from a new acquaintance at an autumn-chilled coffee shop: Sometimes she talks too much; sometimes her bleeding heart, obvious observations and the way she puts things make you blush. But you swallow your tongue because you can’t help being amazed by the power of her presence and the sound of her voice.
You can’t help but listen.
Ryman is a forty-something Texas native who returned to the folk-music wars after a 20-year hiatus, and this batch of songs reflects all the potholes and brass rings she has encountered on her long, strange trip back. Her debut of two years ago, “Winds of Good Fortune,” had some promising moments, but “Lay Me Open” is a much stronger, more fully realized vision.
With a voice that alternately recalls Lani Hall, Janis Ian and Rosanne Cash, Ryman traces her metamorphosis from 60s folkie to family woman to reinvigorated artist. “With age comes wisdom,” says an old bromide, but in Ryman’s case, there are other things, too: patience, a knack for sly social commentary, a sharp wit steeped in the storytelling folk tradition of Steve Goodman.
Her ode to a homeless woman, “Maggie of the Street,” is one of the album’s most powerful tracks – for its sympathetic, but never patronizing, approach. And on paper, Ryman’s “Bureaucracy” might read like another ordinary letter-to-the-editor rant on the red-taping of America, as the singer bemoans the hassle of changing a class at the university and the universal quagmire of health insurance. But her tribulations are, fittingly, put to square-dance music, with a grab-your-fellow-sucker-by-the-arm chorus: “Whirl, whirl, round and round, back and forth, up and down/ If that paper pile gets low, we’ll make more rules so you can go.”
When Ryman focuses her muse on the family unit, she’s not nearly as deft. The prosaic, if heartfelt, “Broken Families” offers little true insight, while the pedestrian, if mildly amusing, “All-American Dysfunctional Family” could be the rejected plot for a Fox TV sitcom – from five years ago.
Ryman fares much better when writing about matters of the heart, from the aching title track to her exquisite ode to grown-up love, “Letting Go,” to her brittle break-up songs, “Moving Out” and “Love Gone Wrong,” and her heartfelt tribute to explorer Ann Bancroft, “To the End of the World,” which benefits from a sweet clarinet part from Ryman’s 11-year-old son, Tommy.
Talk about grass-roots music.
“Some laugh and say I am a failure to draw a crowd that’s so small/ But I can recall a gig in St. Paul where I got to play to no one at all,” she sings on the wonderfully self-deprecating waltz, “Playing for Two (at a Club Called the Blue Guitar in the Town of Stillwater).” “Yes it’s strange when your life is half through and you realize no one’s ever heard of you.”
For Ryman, that shouldn’t be the case for much longer if she keeps this up “Lay Me Open” may have been released on her own Renegade label, but the next one is bound to be worthy of the likes of Red House, Philo or Rounder – three labels with the tradition of cultivating artists who reveal something of themselves to their listeners. Artists such as Ryman.
In her press kit, Ryman includes her business card. Complete with the requisite black-and white picture of the artist, it is one of those cheesy Music Biz 101 things you see tacked up at the music store bulletin board/graveyard, along with a hundred other polka, wedding and cover bands looking for jobs.
It seems a particularly ignoble, the altogether necessary, piece of promotional propaganda for an artist of Ryman’s talents. But along with the name, booking phone number and mailing address, it gets something right.
Underneath the artist’s name and photograph, there is the simple description of her avocation:
“Singer / Songwriter.”
sets are original music
typically two 45-50 minute sets - concert setting
flexible depending on event or venue
PDF RiderTech rider & Stage Layout-Barb Ryman
|May 3, 2014 Saturday||TBA||http://www.barbryman.com/?section=calendar||all shows, , US|
|Please visit http://www.barbryman.com/?section=calendar for Barb's current tour schedule.|