Carla Ryder
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Carla Ryder

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"Carla Ryder Makes Big Noise at Club Passim"

Believe it or not, a singer-songwriter on the rise can't ask for a better backdrop than an underground café in Cambridge, MA. The likes of Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman polished their stagecraft at the world famous, Club Passim. It continues to hold tight to its position as New England's epicenter of roots music through the ebb and flow of the genre's popularity. With special guests Vanessa Trien, Babson College alumna Carla Ryder turned up the heat on August 13 for one of Club Passim's best shows in recent memory.
After ending Trien's set together, Carla Ryder took over the pole position. She did so flanked by one of the best backing bands in New England. Scott Bressler on bass and, Jon Metters on acoustic guitar were aided by vocalist Tara Cojerian in their support of Ryder's set.
"The Turning", a track from the "Pulling Down the Sky" CD, was an early highlight. Ryder's catchy hooks and breathtaking vocals were in top form. Between songs, Metters and Bressler's off the cuff banter with Ryder was almost as entertaining as the music. The chemistry of these performers has made a great local artist event better. Midway through the set, Venessa Trein joined the crowded stage for another sing along.
"Nevada", her contribution to Boston's Best singer-songwriter compilation CD, ended the night on the right note. Soon, fans crowded the budding star. Watching Carla on stage and amid her fans, it occurred to me more than once that this was not the typical workday of Babson alumni. Though her career path is not typical, her accomplishments, which include national tours and opening for Bob Dylan, are no less remarkable. A CD headed by producer Adam Steinberg (Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow) is on the ever brightening horizon of Babson's very own acoustic hero.
- Babson Business Jounral

"Carla Ryder"

Watching this charismatic young rocker captivate a crowd as she plays ''Spinning to Crazy,'' you know she's destined for big things. - The Boston Globe

"She's Back"

Artist: Carla Ryder
CD: Acoustic & Live
Home: Boston, Massachusetts
Style: Singer-Songwriter
Quote: "Her latest performance confirms that she's one of the hottest female
vocalists on the East Coast."

By: Erik Deckers
(here's the direct link to review)

Intro/general thoughts: She's back, she's back, she's back! Carla Ryder is back, acoustic and live, on her latest CD, "Acoustic & Live." And with more of the same great music that made her a fan favorite, both with the Mudhens and on her last solo CD, "Pulling Down Sky," Ryder deftly avoids the sophomore slump that afflicts so many other artists.

>From beginning to end, Ryder up and down the musical continuum, playing anything from folk to rock to pop to a Latin-influenced song. Each song, replete with Ryder's sweet vocals, is equal to every other song in its quality and craftsmanship (craftswomanship?).

Highs: Definitely "The Turning." This song is one that fits one of those sad-but-happy moments of a person's past, and is made to be on your life's soundtrack.

Outstanding performance: It's Carla's album, it's Carla's music, so the outstanding performance is, what else, Carla's voice. Although she's got some excellent musicians backing her up, Carla's vocals are the best instrument on the whole album. Her latest performance confirms that she's one of the hottest female vocalists on the East Coast.

Lows: Three of the four secret tracks at the end of the album are the movie equivalent of outtakes and snappy band banter. While it was cute, it detracts from the rest of the album for those of us who like to set a CD to "Repeat All" and listen to it over and over.

Fans: If you like Carla Ulbrich, Robin Pearl, or Jill Dawson (all reviewed here on , then Carla Ryder is someone you don't want to miss.

Foes: If you expect your singers to sound like Tom Waits, Buster Poindexter, or Kim Carnes, you won't like Ryder's strong, soaring, and crystal clear voice.

Summary: You can tell your friends what it's like to be in love, drive on the Autobahn, or drink a really fine bottle of wine, but they'll never really know what you're talking about until they experience it for themselves. That's the quandary I'm in now in trying to explain how great "Acoustic & Live" is. I can't properly tell you how great this album is, you just have to hear it for yourself. Visit Carla's website and get it. - Indie

"Acoustic and Live"


On her latest CD, singer-songwriter Carla Ryder offers up a 13-song set of cheery and introspective well-crafted tunes. Backed by musicians on bass, guitar and vocals, Ryder delivers the goods, providing memorable melodies and catchy choruses that manage to stay in the head for days. For a live recording, the sound quality is crisp--though obviously taken from the soundboard--and the energy and joy of live performance shines through in both the songs and the between-song banter.

Lyrically there's a little bit of cleverness, as in the infectious "Spinning To Crazy": "The more things change the more they stay insane." But for the most part the words are not so much clever as well phrased and thoughtfully crafted. The highlights here come in songs about relating and relationships, like the poignant and sweet closer, "What I Have"--which almost made this reviewer cry. "East Coast Thing" is a sassy take on intuition and working on relationships, while "Please Don't Go" delves into the tail end of a destructive and abusive coupling.

Ryder's stories are fleshed out with a minimum of strokes and convey emotion through melodic and instrumental choices. As a guitar player, Ryder is more of a strummer and picker, but her chord progressions often take interesting and unexpected turns. She shines vocally, swinging for the bleachers at one moment and almost whispering the next.

When Ryder harmonizes with her backing vocalist, the effect is a little Indigo Girls-meets-Ani Difranco. "Nevada", "The Turning" and "Matter of Time" feature bright and catchy choruses. I have woken up humming them before I can figure out what they are. Even the less-memorable songs have a good deal of charm, and that's a rare thing. Overall, Acoustic & Live is a good introduction to Carla Ryder. So will be her shows at Burlington this week--Friday at Radio Bean and Saturday at 135 Pearl.

-Colin Clary

- Seven Days, Burlington VT

"Ryder Tears it Up"

"This girl can tear it up!" That's what you'll say after listening to the latest release by Carla Ryder. The record kicks off with "House of Yesterday." "The world won't wait for you," Ryder warns in her pop-oriented chorus. "Three Mondays Gone" is another well-crafted tune, with layers of electric guitars and background vocals providing a wall of sound to accompany the catchy chorus. "Gettysburg" is a high-energy folk tune about family ties, "Ex-Patriot's Song" is a mid-tempo political rocker and "Take it Away" is a country-flavored ditty with rhythmic acoustic guitar and a sing-along refrain.

File Ryder between Sheryl Crow and the Pretenders, but don't miss out on Til the End of Counting. - Performing Songwriter Magazine, June 2007

"Ton Ten of 2004"

The Carla Ryder Band
"Til the End of Counting" (CD,, 2004)

After six years fronting the Mudhens, Boston's Carla Ryder switched to a dual path of solo coffeehouse gigs, on the one hand, and rocking shows with her Carla Ryder Band, on the other. The result of those varied experiences is a versatile approach to folk-rock. Til the End of Counting serves up a rich casserole of dynamic vocals, good-to-excellent songwriting, and crisp production by Adam Steinberg, featuring prominent guitar and percussion. When announcing the apparently delayed release of this disc, Ryder said, "You'll see it was worth the wait!" She got that right.
- New England Scrapbook News

"Versatility propels Ryder's rise"

By Steve Morse, Globe Staff | December 24, 2004

In the daytime, she's a speech therapist for the Boston public schools. At night, she's an aspiring rock singer who seems to get better with each appearance. Carla Ryder is almost too versatile to categorize, but she has fun trying.

''I just tell people that I play in a rock band that dabbles in pop, folk, and country," says Ryder, who is remarkably free of attitude. ''A fan gave me the best description by saying, 'You are Joni Mitchell kidnapped by Joan Jett.' "

Whatever one might call her, Ryder is rising through the ranks. The Braintree native started out singing in the popular cover band the Mudhens (''We'd do obscure covers from the Go-Go's to Led Zeppelin") but is now turning out original material at a fairly prolific pace. She has released two solo records -- ''Pulling Down Sky" and ''Acoustic & Live" -- and just issued her first CD with the Carla Ryder Band.

It's called ''Til the End of Counting" and is produced by the increasingly hot Adam Steinberg, who has worked with Amy Fairchild, the Dixie Chicks, and Katie Terrio. It's a highly intelligent record, and Ryder's songs pull from literature (Larry McMurtry's ''Lonesome Dove" inspires one track), from politics (''Ex-Patriot's Song" is based on America's sometimes misguided foreign policies), and even from her observation of children at the Mattahunt Elementary School in Mattapan, where she is based by day. That particular track is ''Just About Nothing," which is about handling fear.

''I wrote it during a lunch break at school," Ryder says. ''I have a coveted room with a window, and I was looking down at all the little girls doing their steps and their jump-roping, and they were all so fearless. They're so resilient, and I thought, 'Why do we get so afraid when we grow up?' "

As a performer, Ryder appears to have no fear herself. A bubbly extrovert, she is performing a Tuesday residency this month at the Lizard Lounge (the ''Soul Low" series from 7:30-8:30 p.m.). She'll finish it next week, and it's hard to imagine the finale being any better than this past Tuesday, when she captivated a crowded house with her literate originals and romping covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival's ''Lodi" and the Rolling Stones' ''Dear Doctor."

Her six-piece band adds to the appeal. Backup singer Tara Cojerian could be a star in her own right, while guitarist Jon Metters, bassist Scott Bressler, drummer Ian MacMillan, and keyboardist Dave Weiser (the newest member) all have undeniable charisma.

''We're at such a zenith with this band," Ryder says. ''Personally and musically, we're at a great spot. And they're all my best friends."

- The Boston Globe


Til the End of Counting, 2004
Acoustic and Live, 2001
Pulling Down Sky, 2000.
Songs that enjoyed streaming and radio airplay include: Spinning to Crazy, Nevada, One I Call Friend, Hottest Season. Three songs were selected to appear on the release of the Party of Five DVD's: The Turning, Stretched Out and Spinning to Crazy.



"This girl can tear it up! That’s what you’ll say after listening to the latest release by Carla Ryder. File Ryder between Sheryl Crow and the Pretenders, but don’t miss out on Til the End of Counting." Performing Songwriter Magazine, June 2007.

"An aspiring rock singer who seems to get better with each appearance. Carla Ryder is almost too versatile to categorize, but she has fun trying." Steve Morse, The Boston Globe

"Carla is one of the best young songwriters around. I was totally taken with her cd." Bill Staines

Songwriting accolades: Chosen for top 12 Do It Yourself picks in Performing Songwriter Magazine's June 2007 issue. Honorable mention in the 2005 Billboard Songwriting Contest, semi-finalist in the 2005 International Songwriting Competition out of over 11,000 entries, finalist in the Americana Category of the 2004 International Songwriting Competition (ISC), with her song "Three Mondays Gone", and The 2004 Great American Song Contest, with "Nevada". Til The End of Counting named one of the top 10 CDs of 2004 by The Patriot Ledger and New England Scrapbook News. Carla co-wrote 2 songs featured on NBC's Primetime "Promised Land" and ABC's Sunday night movie, "Y2K". Three songs from Pulling Down Sky selected to appear on the DVD release of Party of Five.

Performance accolades: With her current line-up, as well as her previous band The Mudhens, she has had the honor of opening for performers such as Neil Young, Beck, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Jonatha Brooke, Primus, 10,000 Maniacs, Antigone Rising, Cake, Ben Folds 5, Guster, The Push Stars, Janis Ian, Bill Staines, Dexter Freebish, and Jon Pussett Dart. Nominated for a Boston Music Award in 1998. Awarded Jam Music Magazine's New Hampshire's Artist of the Year and "Spinning to Crazy" Song of the Year 2000.

A Boston native, Carla Ryder is a wife and mother who spends her days working in the public schools teaching inner-city kids to read. She is also an accomplished front-woman, singer, and songwriter. With a total of 6 albums under her belt, she has toured extensively and developed a loyal & enthusiastic following from New England to the Pacific Northwest. She writes from the heart and from the gut what she knows and what she sees. Whether confessional, self-mocking or anecdotal, she passionately blends her experiences with those of others-the world around her, and never fails to lyrically paint a touching and exquisite portrait of emotion. Her melodies can make you cry at one moment and dance at another. Her sound has been described as rootsy & raw; folk-flavored indie-pop with haunting lyrics, infectious melodies, spot-on harmonies and rock-solid grooves. Ryder's poignant vocals are soulful and soaring. Her swoops, glides and falsetto give her a unique sound, especially when she goes into storytelling mode. And a storyteller she is. Carla has crafted a style that is tender and heart warming yet manages to tear up and rock any stage. Her connection with the audience is deep and powerful. Her charm, presence and humor exude warmth and a human quality so strong that from the crowd, you feel that you know her personally.

Recordings: "Pulling Down Sky" released in 2000, produced by Chris Lannon, "Acoustic & Live", released in 2001, "Til the End of Counting", released in 2004. Both studio releases charted on CMJ & received local, national and AAA airplay.

All releases have enjoyed spots in regular rotation on Boston's WUMB 91.9 and WERS 88.9, and Concord NH's 95.5 WJYY. The band was hosted in the River Music Hall, The River 92.5 for an in-studio performance on New Frontiers, and "Spinning to Crazy" was spun on 92.9 WBOS for a week prior to the release of "Pulling Down Sky".

Performance venues: The Somerville Theater, House of Blues, The Lizard Lounge, The Iron Horse, Harper's Ferry, The Blackthorne Tavern, The Stone Church, Tupelo Music Hall, Club Passim & The Capitol Center for the Arts) and New York City (Arlene's Grocery, The Bitter End & The Living Room), as well as many residencies at TOAD in Cambridge.

The Carla Ryder Band have developed a rabid following of loyal listeners who faithfully attend as each show is transformed into a memorable musical experience that leaves everyone wanting more.