Enjoy The Ride
Published August 2018
Blues Music Magazine
A generous thirteen songs of bliss and fury constitute this year’s Enjoy the Ride from blues-woman Deb Ryder on her 4th CD. Not content to have her rather stellar band back her, she’s chosen (and been fortunate) to work with mighty independent guests such as Chris Cain, (three tracks,) Debbie Davies, Kirk Fletcher, Johnny Lee Schell (who also mixed,) keyboardist extraordinaire Mike Finnigan and guitar hero Coco Montoya (two tracks,) among others. And oh yes, she’s got musician/producer extraordinaire Tony Braunagel holding the proceedings tightly together as producer and (a BMA winning) drummer. Ryder wrote all of the compositions, a feat in itself, but it is her very personal, interpretive vocals that you’ll probably most want to listen to.
Ryder can shout like a blues mama, but shows (as on “Forever Yours”) she has a refined, sensitive side as well, and can belt it with the best of them when the muse requires. Just listen to the slow burn of “A Storm’s Coming” (with blistering, heartfelt guitar work by Montoya) so as to hear for yourself.
Slow blues permeates the lovelorn heartbreaker “For The Last Time,” features a marvelous solo by Montoya, and a shared vocal by Finnigan. “What You Want From Me” starts off with a Bo Diddley beat and never lets go, until the Gospel-tinged chorus attacks with a fury of the most devotional church. It also features a fiery Hammond B3 organ solo by Finnigan.
“Got To Let It Go” is one of the standouts on the LP, with a marvelous shared vocal between Northern California treasure Chris Cain and Ryder. Cain provides a tasty solo during the song’s mid-point and outro. He’s just a continuing joy to listen to.
Throughout the recording, and with a deep, sometimes growling contralto, Ryder makes the most of her vocal contributions and interprets her songs admirably.
The 56-minute overall effort will be appreciated by Deb Ryder’s rabid fans and should please them immensely. However for the casual blues aficionado, “Enjoy the Ride” might not fill their ears with the complete joy of a new artist discovery. The musicianship is just terrific, the guest stars wonderfully chosen, but there is a sameness to Ryder’s delivery that prevents the work from being a true standout among this year’s releases. Not to damn with faint praise though, this album is an enjoyable ride via Ryder’s sincerity and accomplished vocals.