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"Grainne - Looking For Sunshine - Musikk, Norway"

*Tracks like "Not Enough Love", "Colours Of You" and "The Rain" are real treats, and the lovely country song "Looking For Sunshine" is really worth the whole album itself.

*This is only part of this review, it has to be translated, but even when it is translated, it's a bit difficult to understand. To see the full review please visit the attached URL. - Musikk

"Grainne - Looking For Sunshine - Musikk, Norway"

*Tracks like "Not Enough Love", "Colours Of You" and "The Rain" are real treats, and the lovely country song "Looking For Sunshine" is really worth the whole album itself.

*This is only part of this review, it has to be translated, but even when it is translated, it's a bit difficult to understand. To see the full review please visit the attached URL. - Musikk

"Catchy "pop" and "Americana" from this Canadian singer -"

This review is from: Looking for Sunshine (Audio CD)

Grainne (pronounced GRAWN-ya) is a Canadian singer songwriter who the press releases say sounds like Lucinda Williams, Joni Mitchell or even a "slightly rebellious Mary Chapin Carpenter". I don't agree. She has her own sound and it's catchy. My favorite tracks (ones with great hooks) are "Colours of You" and the title track - which closes the 10-song album. "Big Yellow Machines" has a full-out big-band sound while the following track - "In Between" - offers a lower-key mood.

She apparantly plays mostly "north of the border" but, like many Canadian "folk" artists she's captuted a lot of the "Americana" sound from Nashville.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic - Steve Ramm,

"Grainne - Looking For Sunshine - The Wire Megazine"

A gem which has slipped below our radar. Grainne Ryan's Looking For Sunshine is the kind of CD that leaves you longing for more. Produced by The Pursuit Of Happiness' Moe Berg, the recordings also feature the talents of a number of "local" powerhouses. Enjoy the work of Neil Sanderson, Adam & Josh Gontier, Travis Berlenbach and others, and fall in love with the soulful lilt of Grainne's voice and the poignancy of her lyric. Reviewed as reminiscent of Lucinda Williams and a slightly rebellious Mary Chapin Carpenter..." Grainne has a sound all her own. Catch her on a Wire Wednesday in June or about town entertaining her fans. - Michael Bell, The Wire

"Grainne - Looking For Sunshine - Durham"

I should get out more. Who knew there was a Durham Region Music Society? With awards and a show and everything. Back in 2009, Grainne Ryan won Folk Artist of the Year. Nice. She is based in Peterborough. This disc, produced by Moe Berg, came out in November. Not Enough Love is a pedal-steel driven, steel-tipped toe tapper. Grainne (for those of you not of an Irish persuasion, it is pronounced Grawnya) has the lows of Sarah Harmer and the highs of Joni Mitchell in her very attractive voice. "Sometimes I just can't hide the way I feel/ When things are clearly not right my words tend to reveal/ the way I feel so here I go again."
- William McGuirk, Durham

"Grainne - Looking For Sunshine - Roots Music Canada"

As the sky has rediscovered its bright blue hue and the sun has shown itself for a few days, one’s gait picks up a bit. Despite the deluge of snow, salt and cold, spring is becoming a possibility.
Listening to Grainne (pronounced Grawn-ya) Ryan’s first full-length CD further reinforces the notion that spring is nigh. The opening song “Not Enough Love” with its upbeat pace, strong acoustic guitar and hint of pedal steel provides her with the perfect vehicle. Her fresh, clean voice and sunny outlook is nothing derived from a Katrina & The Waves music video. Her outlook is reality-based but, like her music, her message is hopeful and positive. From her musical approach, one imagines Ryan to be sitting around in a rural retreat—feet up, sun on her face and her mind adrift in serious daydreams about what it might take to make the world a better place. She doesn’t pretend to have answers, but she’s happy to pitch pertinent questions.
More band-oriented and less folksy than All the Money, her previous EP release, Looking For Sunshine appears to sum up her raison d’être. Reminiscent of Lucinda Williams and a slightly rebellious Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ryan’s earthy perspective goes one big step further in that her original compositions are instantly familiar-sounding, hook-laden songs that encourage you to kick up your feet and, in some cases, sing along.
That Moe Berg has produced this release may account for some of this yet, without Moe’s influence, her previous effort has demonstrated her proficiency as a singer and a songwriter. If she seems difficult to entirely pigeonhole, that’s in her favour—she’s clearly grown up with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil, Rosanne Cash, Nanci Griffith and, according to her website’s bio, AC/DC. Surrounding herself with great players – specifically “Texas Stew” Crookes (pedal steel), Ali Stead/Moe Berg/Adam Gontier (guitars) and power-hitter Neil Sanderson on drums, she’s confident in taking on the world.
In songs requiring added power, Ryan supplements her vocals with great backup support from (elder sister) Cora Westermann and Travis Berlenbach. Strong harmonies appear to be a secret weapon across these 10 original songs as Westermann provides the perfect accent to Ryan’s clear, fresh voice—a voice which incorporates a hint of country and, at other times, a strong Celtic flavour.
Consider one of the album’s strongest tracks, “Colours Of You”. It begins as a gentle, folksy piece that adds banjo and harmonies before kicking into a secondary section that strums its way into a distinctly Celtic-sounding, Sandy Denny-esque singalong—one that you can’t stop playing. This buoyant fare is all the more refreshing following the dark, rocking “Under the Blanket”—displaying a love of being a bit of a rocker, with its searing guitar leads and Sanderson’s pleasing John Bonham impersonation. The song runs a bit out of her range, yet it boasts strong party appeal.
“Big Yellow Machines” is another sturdy composition that carries her position against over-development, blending in a horn section for a twist. Some songs are less effective, less developed. “A Little Time” meanders while “Misunderstood” is guilty of losing itself, as pleasant as it is to listen to. Redemption is found in “In Between”—which sounds like a lost Jayhawks track, Crookes’ pedal steel providing a haunting effect behind Ryan’s soft, yet strong, vocal atop acoustic and electric guitars. “Breathe It In” brings the energy back, full tilt, while a mournful “The Rain” reveals added depth, while demonstrating a grasp of blending country to a more contemporary sound, taking a page out of Emmylou Harris’ book.
All in all, this is a surprisingly sophisticated and accomplished release from an artist who should be better known. There’s little doubt she has a vision for where she’s heading and, given support, she’ll get there. As Ryan reminds us in the closing song and title track, she’ll continue “looking for the sunshine” and the fact that spring is almost here may be the seasonal edge to continue this momentum.

- Eric Thom, Roots Music Canada

"Grainne - Looking For Sunshine - No"

I have never under-estimated records or CDs received from artists or managers with no affiliation with a record company. Some people complain that projects such as this are filled with lots of effort, little musical quality and shallow production values.
But, Canada's Grainne is already an award-winning artist. You would think a major record company would have picked up her option by now. This collection just needs a major label push because all the hard work and investment has already been done. Toronto’s Speak Music is responsible for having the gift or radar system that zeroes in on artists of considerable quality and value. Or, maybe there's just a very fertile roots music scene in Toronto, Canada or --- something must be in the water?

Grainne -- is a young lady who has managed to create -- with some help from some reliable, dependable musicians -- a great sounding CD. This effort has all the earmarks of a major record company production with sparkling melodies and strong songs that are well-arranged and creatively played.
The album cover art even dares to suggest an artist with a well-balanced sense of humor – but inside the package: it’s emotive energy that translates into a grounded approach – an artist that is not silly. Grainne is that rare artist that manages to be diversified enough with her message that a listener can go through all ten cuts never sensing repetition or finding the journey laborious – it’s all well worth arriving at that beautifully sung title cut.
So, let’s get formalities out of the way: her name is pronounced -- Grawn-ya. Her website details her impressive awards and reviews. It just angers me when I see the amount of talent that America never gets to hear because of the glut of commercialized music that cranks out the same formula every day. Nothing challenging. Everything so sugar coated that after listening for a short while you wonder why you feel like you need to go to a dentist.

Grainne is in an elite female singer-songwriter class. She's in the classic mold of a Lucinda Williams, Julie Miller, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and sounds hauntingly close – at times, not always -- to the best moments of Aimee Mann. But, other writers have made that comparison already – I am just supporting the claim. Yet, I must add that despite similar sounding moments – for the benefit of people who need a starting point -- Grainne is her own woman in this collection of songs.

Canadian veteran Moe Berg (The Pursuit of Happiness) has done a fine job providing smooth sounding production. Vocals are never over powered by the playing, the acoustics are sharp and clean. As each of the ten tracks play they present fresh introductions into a steady attractive line of story-songs.
“I don’t want to eat your dirt no more, and I don’t want to hear your engines roar” – what an effective line. Sung with her own unconscious voice answering back and followed with a full blown New Orleans jazz/Mardi-Gras band in “Big Yellow Machines.”
However, this CD really opens with “Not Enough Love,” -- a crisp country flavored melody heavy on pedal steel and Grainne’s honey-flavored voice. She hits some sustained high notes effortlessly and the musicians glide in through that familiar style of Jerry Garcia, Lowell George and Hot Tuna. Easily compatible with some of country-rock’s best from the last 30 years or more. It’s just that kind of comfort level. Music that could played on any Georgia or Arkansas porch with a multitude of homegrown musicians.
“Under the Blanket,” shows a more plodding style – country music with little grains of the blues in the under current and again, Grainne holds some good notes with the drums anchored in a relentless forever going forward march. Soaring lead guitar and windy acoustic guitars wind around. If vocals had color I would say Grainne had an excellentforest green colored vocal on this. This is a keeper on my system.
“Colours of You,” is the sonic opposite of “Under the Blanket.” Lilting, melodic, a fresh new optimistic vocal with ringing acoustic guitars. This is a different Grainne. Deeper and friendlier.
Pacing on an LP is important and this song comes at just the right time. If I were a famous female vocalist who didn’t write her own songs I would begin mining the Grainne songbook. The tunes have a welcoming sound and many just sound like potential hits. Hopefully, Grainne will have the first opportunity to hit and break into the American market and find her deserving niche.
“Every time I jump into your ocean, the waves come right up over my head.” This is the quality so often a part of New Zealand’s great award-winning country-singer-songwriter Donna Dean. What a wonderful pairing these women would make.
“In Between,” is more pensive and has beautiful pedal steel and acoustic guitar. Grainne’s vocal approach on this is very Aimee Mann-like and that’s a compliment. It isn’t that she “sounds” like Aimee Mann – she is just in that realm of quality with this kind of material.
I continue to be impressed with the quality of Americana from Canada. I guess we can call it Northern Americana. I’m not surprised by it, after-all more than half of the legendary Bob Dylan backup group -- The Band was from Canada. Then there’s Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn and Gordon Lightfoot -- all from Canada and all quite respected in their fields.
The quality is definitely in abundance. The persistence of quality by artists who have yet to be acknowledged on a much larger stage just keeps coming from our northern neighbor and it’s quite good. Grainne is one of these artists and she has an all-encompassing talent that possesses varied songs, inventive melodies, ideas and she’s....interesting.
Many artists are talented but they forget that they are in show business. You must entertain to keep a level of interest. Why should anyone listen? You have to give a listener a reason. They are dedicating their time to your talent. The market is saturated and the airwaves are gluttons. Some artists do not deserve to be treated like yesterday’s newspaper. My point?
Grainne is interesting today and she will be interesting tomorrow.
I know I am not alone. As mentioned earlier, Grainne has already won awards in Canada and has been acknowledged as far away as Norway.
“The Rain,” – a poignant turn begins the album’s finale.
How far from country and Americana can you get when you sing a song as compelling as this? It’s a song that would hold an audience in their seats and not point them in the direction of the condiment counter or rest room. The title track “Looking For Sunshine,” continues in the Canadian Americana music vein. I hear Bruce Cockburn singing this, and maybe with Grainne by his side.
There’s just something about this narrative that continues the true Canadian storytelling/songwriting tradition. What makes this little song wonderful is how spare it is. Just Grainne on vocals, acoustic guitar, tambourine and Cora Westermann on background vocals. Grainne has a little of the late Judee Sill’s timbre in her voice – especially on this track --and this is what sets Grainne’s voice apart from an Aimee Mann.
Here, Grainne is mining some vintage styles and she is successfully making them all uniquely and originally her own.

John Apice / No Depression / October 18th 2012
Grainne Ryan’s website:
- John Apice, No Depression


2007 - "All The Money": Tracks were aired on CBC Radio, Canadian and US college radio, as well radio stations in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, The UK and Ireland.

2010 - "Looking For Sunshine": Tracks are currently being aired on CBC Radio 1 and 2, college and community radio stations, as well as various online stations.



Grainne (pronounced GRAWN-ya) has worn out the soles of several pairs of shoes walking the roads of the stories in her songs. She’s leapt headfirst into heartache, heard the sound of the earth weeping, and has still managed to put a positive spin on it all. Grainne's big voice, powerful lyrics and gutsy, earthy sound will have you singing along to her infectious melodies.

Eight of the10 tracks on Grainne's new album, Looking for Sunshine, were produced by Canadian rock veteran Moe Berg (Pursuit of Happiness). The resulting sound applies rootsy pop, solid rock and alternative country to her captivating, melodic songs. As with her 2007 debut release, All the Money, the quality of her music reflects that of her influences: Neil Young, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Roseanne Cash, Nanci Griffith and even AC/DC. Still, her music is as unique – and haunting, and strong – as the voice that sings it.

Looking for Sunshine was recorded with a gang of accomplished, highly-regarded musicians: "Texas Stew" Crookes on pedal steel, Ali Stead and Moe Berg on guitar and power hitter Neil Sanderson on drums. Together, they create a palette of sounds so rich you can almost taste them.

Now residing in Peterborough, ON, Grainne keeps a busy schedule, performing in various venues throughout Southern Ontario, both solo and with her newly formed backing band The Sons Of Birches. Plans to broaden her fan base and tour more extensively are now in the works. Since it's release, Looking For Sunshine is garnering rave reviews and tracks from the album are being aired on CBC and college radio, as well as multiple online radio stations, including the Haze FM, which has over two million listeners worldwide. Grainne is involved in several other musical projects; she is a choir director for the Peterborough chapter of Shout Sister Choirs (founded over 10 years ago by award winning jazz/blues singer/songwriter Georgette Fry of Kingston ON), she's a member of Essentia (a Toronto based women's choral ensemble founded by Rosemary Phelan, and comprised entirely of professional female singer/songwriters). Grainne also sings backing vocals for The Chris Altmann Band ( and recorded backing vocals on Chris' new album, "Nothing But Nice Things", as well as Peterborough singer/songwriter Melissa Payne's new album, "Take My Heart".

Grainne won "Folk Artist Of The Year" and was nominated for "Female Vocalist" and "Album" of the year at the 2009 Durham Region Music Awards. She was also nominated for "Best Country Song" at the 2008 Toronto Independent Music Awards and was nominated for "Recording Of The Year" and "Female Vocalist Of The Year" at the 2012 Wire Awards in Peterborough, ON.