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Mary Lydia Ryan | Little Red Boat

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United States - Washington

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Easy Listening: Background Music New Age: Solo Instrumental Moods: Featuring Piano
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Little Red Boat

by Mary Lydia Ryan

In Mary Lydia's usual wistful and at times contemplative melancholy style, 'Little Red Boat' is a wonderful sophomore follow up to her "Album of the Year" nominated first solo piano endeavor, 'Moving in Grace.'
Genre: Easy Listening: Background Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Little Red Boat
3:36 $0.99
2. Woman in the Moon
4:04 $0.99
3. Floating on a Gentle Breeze
3:42 $0.99
4. The Joy of Ten Knots
3:30 $0.99
5. In Wonder
3:26 $0.99
6. Sailing This Sea Alone
4:01 $0.99
7. How Did I End up Here
2:49 $0.99
8. Gentle Sunshine
2:03 $0.99
9. Waltz Under the Sun (Kevin's Song)
2:24 $0.99
10. A Song About Sea Turtles
3:23 $0.99
11. Sparkle on the Water
3:31 $0.99
12. Ocean of My Soul
6:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The album cover, “Red Boat” image was used by permission by artist Steve Jensen. This painting is one in a series titled, “Red Boat.” (http://www.stevejensenstudios,com.)

This lovely Steve Jensen painting entered my life in 2015. I fell in love with the energy, the depth of layers of beauty and artistry it holds. I felt the music in me rising to the surface while gazing at it. I placed it on my music stand atop my piano and began composing with ease. I knew from the onset of the first composition, “Little Red Boat,” I was aboard for an incredible journey. I very quickly found the mysterious woman in the moon, followed up by my weeks at a time floating on a gentle breeze, and on and on…This music has woven in and out of my life. I was aboard the vessel during gentle storms and not so gentle storms. I watched the sea turtles playing along with other marine life. The sparkle on the water fed my soul and reminded me to breathe and find my inner child. “Waltz Under the Sun” surfaced while in creative flow and I wrote this specifically for my dear friend Kevin Rex, who was experiencing his own inner ocean storms.

I live and compose on a floating home in Seattle. This helped me in feeling into each of these pieces as they came to life. On the lake we experience winter and spring storms that will keep our home rocking under the gray skies. We also experience gorgeous sunny days where I spend many an afternoon staring at the sparkles on the water, reading the magical messages that come through.

I invite you to step into this little red boat and allow it to carry you on a journey, with this music as your sound track as you experience what is to follow.

All my love, ~ Mary Lydia



to write a review

Steve Sheppard

A delightful sun kissed album
I had been desperate of some much needed ambience this morning, the world and its news is a turbulent place these days, so a sanctuary in music was the ideal plan to make happen. I found that doorway to solitude and calm through the refrains of one of the most beautiful solo piano albums I have heard for some time, namely Little Red Boat by Mary Lydia Ryan.
From the moment we pushed away from the dock I found a most charming narrative indeed, the title track Little Red Boat manifested such a smooth and peaceful refrain it soothed my soul, the musical story told here is so very redolent of being on an actual boat, and one that has such a sweet melody to accompany you too.
As we drift slowly down the stream of this musical voyage we come across a delightful opus called Woman In The Moon. I have heard many charming piano based pieces in my time, but this now must be added to that “A” list, here we have a glistening track that has such a fluent performance within, the tones paint a picture of night, gazing up at a full moon and watching images change, perhaps even the face of a woman in the moon appears!
I have spent many an hour on boats on one description or another, and it must be said that I absolutely adore albums on the subject, here on Floating On A Gentle Breeze we have just that, the artist has such a wonderful way of painting with music, that it draws us into the narrative with ease and here we are, listening to Mary Lydia Ryan as we float gently upon that warming summer breeze, idyllic and perfect in every way.
The tempo picks up on this next piece called The Joy of Ten Knots. I used to live in an old English fishing village, and each Sunday the visitors during the summer would come down to the coast to sail their boats, I would watch them navigate the sand banks and drag themselves into the flow of a helpful breeze, this composition is a perfect soundtrack for that. It is rare to hear a pianist with such an excellent standard of musical description, but in Mary Lydia Ryan we have just that.
There was something truly to admire about this next offering entitled In Wonder. It had a timeless feel to its construction, one could truly imagine floating down a small river on our journey and coming across some of the most marvellous countryside ever and we would drift simply in wonder.
As we glide towards the half way marker of the album we come across a little cove, here we can hear the artist perform an almost cinematic offering called Sailing This Sea Alone. The sense of sailing on the ocean is incredibly peaceful and brings one back to the true realities of life, here the musician paints a graphic picture of a vista so blue, but also so vast, a slight ethic of wonder can be found here, and the feeling of a deep sense of solitude as well, a superb performance indeed.
How Did I End Up Here is a composition that is perhaps an open ended question. The journey could have taken us to a place we never expected to reach, or life’s journey may have taken us on a path that we had not realised would happen. Regardless of which story you turn the page on, the artist really creates a colourful description that allows us the listener to make up our minds through both the major and minor refrains of this most clever composition.
There is nothing like a little Gentle Sunshine, we have that right now outside our studio window and we’re grateful as it is deep midwinter, this melody and arrangement is a real light hearted moment of happiness and one that fits my mood perfectly as well.
Now it’s time for a dedication, as this next piece is entitled Waltz Under The Sun (Kevin’s Song). This for me, has the energy of a celebration, one could feel a reality of pleasure and cheer within the construction of this offering; after all there is nothing quite like a good waltz is there?
Now here in Cyprus it is always exciting to watch the turtles swimming in the lapis seas, it’s a real sign of high summer, so on A Song About Sea Turtles we have the description of that moment in music to a tee. Through Mary’s performance and fluency we can actually watch their huge bodies rise and fall back into the depths of the ocean, in this most picturesque of offerings.
In the distance we can see our docking bay, but before we reach that point we have a gift from the artist, one more track, the penultimate one and called Sparkle Of My Soul. I found this easily the most uplifting piece on the release, this composition was brimming with enthusiasm and hope, and her performance it has to be said, sparkled with an abundance of clarity and happiness.
So let’s moor our little red boat as we now arrive at the final chapter of the album, and the one we finish with is entitled Ocean of My Soul. This at well over six minutes, is the longest offering of the album and one that is also probably the deepest in arrangement, the moody swell here is attractive and very graphic and once more has that feeling that could be classed as possible film score music. The smoothness and pristine quality of performance on piano here was very classy indeed, and the perfect way to leave what has been a truly fantastic album to have sailed upon.
Little Red Boat by Mary Lydia Ryan would win with ease an award for charm, if there was one, this has to be one of the most delightfully descriptive and sun kissed albums I have heard in the solo piano genre this year. Little Red Boat is an album that will lift your mood and soothe your soul and performed by an artist who clearly is in-touch with her muse. If you’re looking for an album packed with relaxing, but descriptive music, a warm and friendly narrative, performed with a skilful talent and produced with care and attention to details then this must be the album for you.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
I have always found it fascinating how a painting (or another art-form) can have a huge and lasting impact on someone’s life. A perfect example is the painting that inspired Mary Lydia Ryan’s solo piano album, "Little Red Boat." The painting with the same title graces the cover of the album and was painted by Seattle-area artist Steve Jensen. The painting entered Mary Lydia’s life in 2015: “I fell in love with the energy, the depth of layers of beauty and artistry it holds. I felt the music in me rising to the surface while gazing at it. I placed it on my music stand atop my piano and began composing with ease.” The music and titles to the twelve piano solos were created as the musical journey unfolded. It is interesting to note that Mary Lydia lives and composes on a floating home on a lake in Washington State, which helped to shape the feeling of the pieces. All of the tracks are very relaxed and express the gentle rocking movement of a boat on peaceful waters. Little Red Boat has been nominated for Whisperings Solo Piano Radio’s “Album of the Year” award and has been named as one of the “Top 3 Best Piano Recordings of 2018” by Dyan Garriss of NewAgeCD. The album was recorded and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at his PianoHaven Studio in Sedona, AZ.

"Little Red Boat" begins with the title track. The gently rocking rhythm conveys the feeling of being on water while occasional percussive notes make me think of light dancing on the surface of the lake. “Woman in the Moon” is slower, more mysterious and very graceful. The haunting melody is played with a hypnotic velvet touch that says more than words ever could. “Floating on a Gentle Breeze” is positively dreamy as it soothes away the stresses of the day. “The Joy of Ten Knots” picks up the tempo a bit and you can almost feel the wind in your hair as you effortlessly go sailing through the water. “Sailing this Sea Alone” is wistful and perhaps “wishful” as well. A bit more melancholy, it feels like a musical soliloquy spoken to the sea at night when “alone-ness” feels the most real. “How Did I End Up Here” could also be late-night musings by candlelight - gently introspective and poignant. “Waltz Under the Sun (Kevin’s Song)” was composed for a close friend who was “experiencing his own inner ocean storms.” Light and overflowing with warmth and caring, I’m sure Kevin found healing in this lovely gift. In “Sparkle on the Water,” the left hand seems to be expressing the gentle movement of the water itself while the more percussive right hand conveys the beauty of light dancing on the surface of the water. “Ocean of My Soul” provides almost 6 1/2 minutes of peaceful bliss, floating on a sea of tranquility without a worry or trouble in the world. Very open, free and beautiful, it brings the album to a serene close.

"Little Red Boat" is an excellent choice for music for relaxation, meditation, background music for working or quiet activities, or simply to enjoy calming piano music.

Pam Asberry

Peaceful and inspiring!
Over the centuries, countless musicians have been inspired by visual art, and vocalist, pianist and composer Mary Lydia Ryan joins their ranks with her 2018 solo piano release, “Little Red Boat.” In 2015, she discovered ”Little Red Boat,” a painting by artist Steve Jensen; she fell in love with the energy, depth of layers of beauty and artistry in the piece, and as she studied it, she felt music within her bubbling to the surface. From the very first first composition, “Little Red Boat,” the music wove throughout the artist’s life like the threads of a tapestry. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the legendary Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studios in Sedona, Arizona, this is a delightful musical journey, indeed.

The title track, “Little Red Boat,” features a winsome melody that sparkles and splashes like sunlight on the surface of the water over a gently rocking left hand accompaniment. The poignant and evocative “Woman in the Moon” is followed by “Floating on a Gentle Breeze”—mesmerizing, peaceful and relaxing as drifting on a raft atop the water on a warm summer afternoon. “The Joy of Ten Knots” is pulsing and exuberant; “In Wonder” is poignant and passionate. “Sailing This Sea Alone” is darker in mood, solemn but not quite melancholy and perfectly captures the essence of a person who is alone but not lonely.

“How Did I End Up Here” is a musical expression of the philosophical question we all ask ourselves from time to time; the quietly joyful “Gentle Sunshine” is one of the shorter pieces on the album but is one of my favorites. “Waltz Under the Sun (Kevin’s Song)” was composed for a friend going through a period of turmoil; light and delicate, ethereal and romantic, it is healing and restorative. “A Song About Sea Turtles” pays mesmerizing homage to these mysterious creatures who spend most of their lives underwater and migrate hundreds of miles between nesting and feeding grounds; “Sparkle on the Water” is a musical painting of the glittering of the sun on the ocean waves. “Ocean of My Soul,” the longest track on the album is at once mercurial and introspective. Another favorite, it brings the album to a peaceful conclusion.

Little Red Boat is a nominee for Whisperings Solo Piano Radio’s “Album of the Year” award and was named as a “Top 3 Best Piano Recordings of 2018” by Dyan Garris of NewAgeCD.com and it is easy to see why. This peaceful and inspiring album is a must for everyone who loves solo piano music. Highly recommended!

Candice Michelle

Lovely solo piano inspired by nautical themes
Mary Lydia Ryan is a longtime pianist, composer and vocalist who returned to the music scene in 2010 following a decade-plus hiatus. Her latest album, Little Red Boat, is a solo-instrumental piano offering that resulted from the inspiration of a painting by Steve Jensen and serves as the album's cover art. As the story goes, after placing this lovely painting atop her piano, Ryan began composing with ease the twelve pieces that would eventually comprise the album. Spanning approximately forty-three minutes, Little Red Boat was recorded in beautiful Sedona, AZ and mastered by fellow pianist and composer Joe Bongiorno.

Beginning with the title piece, “Little Red Boat” is guided along by a gently flowing melody and an overall sense of optimism. Much like the rest of the album's compositions, this piece moves along in a constant forward motion, as if allegorically riding an ocean current to wherever it may lead the traveler. Next our attention is turned to “Woman in the Moon”, a nocturnal piece and one of my favorites herein. Quietly contemplative with a classical bent, it conveys an almost mythical quality, as the listener might easily imagine themselves sailing the seas at night while gazing upon the moon and finding reassurance in its company. Also noteworthy is the comparatively more buoyant “The Joy of Ten Knots” wherein a ballet-like melody is set to a gently galloping pace that simultaneously gives the composition a dynamic yet dainty quality. Another one of my favorites is the slightly wistful “Sailing This Sea Alone”. Conveying both a sense of fortitude and solitude, the piece is intriguingly characterized by higher register notes occasionally trickling upon the main melody like raindrops on the ocean. Additionally worth noting is “A Song About Sea Turtles”, which makes for a fitting tribute to one of the most cherished and remarkable sea creatures on the planet. Seemingly illustrative in composition with subtle twists and turns along its course, this delightful tune feels like a musical overview of a sea turtle’s long oceanic journey and graceful determination.

Just as the ocean’s tides and currents flow endlessly, likewise Mary Lydia Ryan’s hands are in constant motion throughout the compositions; her playing style brightly bold yet mellifluously fluid. Seemingly drawn from the personal diary of a lone seafaring adventurer, Little Red Boat conveys emotional reflection perfectly illustrated by nautical metaphors. Furthermore, this album beautifully exemplifies the profound inspiration that one artist’s mode of creative expression can have on that of another’s!