Kelley Ryan | Cocktails

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by Kelley Ryan

COCKTAILS, is "a wonderfully sustained mood of yearning melancholy", performed by Kelley Ryan with Marti Jones, Don Dixon, and Jim Brock-short and sweet, shaken and stirred.
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Aperitif
1:04 album only
2. Liquefied
3:01 album only
3. Sugar On the Floor
3:17 album only
4. I Lie
3:21 album only
5. Junkyard Heart
4:43 album only
6. Trip Around the Sun
2:52 album only
7. Blue Town
3:42 album only
8. Some Angel
3:30 album only


Album Notes
Raise a glass to the release of Kelley Ryan's new CD, Cocktails. With eight tracks to be sipped and savoured over 25 minutes, Cocktails is like a shot of fine whiskey - a small serving that delivers a big kick.

Don Dixon's string arrangements and subtle production, paired with Jim Brock's amazing and unique percussion, are topped off by Kelley's angelic vocals and harmonies with Marti Jones - the dusting of sugar around the lip of the glass that ties the potion together.

“Cocktails is about the joy and the consequences of the pursuit of pleasure,” says Kelley. "The sound is more intimate and direct than anything I've ever done before. It's really a combined effort between Marti and Dixon and Brock and I, and it evolved organically. All eight songs sound simple and sort of sparse, but I took a lot of care 'distilling' each one down to its essence."

To further spike the mix, Don Dixon shared producing duties with Kelley, and Marti Jones, who is also an accomplished visual artist, contributed the CD's cover portrait.

Kelley's last outing was Twist (21010) of which Amos Perrine said in No Depression, " A mark of a great record is that every time you hear it, you not only hear something new, you invariably have different favorites...It adds a patina to the day, one that stays with you long after you leave and close the door."

The songwriter is also the front-woman for the California band astroPuppees, her free-form collaborative project that’s released four albums of critically-acclaimed pop. She's a go-to songwriter and collaborator, recently on Marshall Crenshaw’s Jaggedland.

When pushed to select a favorite among Cocktails' eight tracks, Kelley admits to a weakness for "Some Angel."

"I added a short a cappella version to kick off the record - like an aperitif - as well as having it finish up the set," says Kelley. "I love the idea that things aren't what they appear. In the song, the angel really isn't an angel at all. Everyone may think she is, but really she's much more comfortable when she's alone and depressed, wallowing in her own sadness. Feeling bad makes her feel alive."

"I Lie" resides in the middle of the record, which is somewhere between an EP and a CD in length. It has a similar inside-out logic, at first appearing to be a string of unbroken lies. But careful listeners will hear the essential, elemental honesty that underpins the tune, like the whisper of vermouth in a martini.

The Manatee Records release was recorded in various spots in Ohio, North Carolina, California and Ireland, the country that serves as second home to Kelley and her husband, Bug Music founder and music publisher Dan Bourgoise (a.k.a. “My biggest fan and critic” says Kelley).

Kelley has earned enviable recognition thanks to her knack for crafting beautiful, idiosyncratic folk-pop melodies, many of which have wafted out of films and television shows.

Plans are in the works to take Cocktails on the road, hopefully with Dixon, Jones and Brock as back up. “But if that doesn’t work, I can go alone,” she says, “just a girl and a guitar.”

Cocktails - a musical concoction that's as refreshing as a cool gin and tonic.



to write a review

Jamie Monagan

stirred and shaken by Cocktails
I've been a fan of Kelley Ryan's since a friend recommended her last CD, Twist. This one is a beautifully produced mix of soulful songs, gorgeous harmonies and intelligent lyrics that deserve careful listening. I've a special place in my musical heart for female vocalists, and think Kelley is among the best.