For the better part of 20 years, Palm Springs resident, Kelley Ryan, has been making music and somehow flying under the radar all the while. This singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has been doing her thing, first with The astroPuppees and then under her own name. To date, she’s released eight albums which now turns into a ninth, with her latest offering, Telescope. It must be noted that Ms. Ryan has some very formidable guests on this record – Marti Jones, Don Dixon, Marshall Crenshaw and Kimm Rogers, so hopefully at the very least, those names will make you sit up and take notice. Nevertheless, the quality, care and talent Ms. Ryan has and puts into this album cannot be understated.
Listen to a track like “Crack In The Sky”; her voice is soothing as it slinks into a jazzy whisper, balanced by the very subdued and tasteful horns that embellish the track and some very sweet harmonies; “Save Me” is a delight, with its delicate melody and simple catchiness and “Flake White Heart” has a instantly infectious groove and powerful lyrics (“…lay me like a rag doll/on the ground/golden boy of ecstasy/burn me down…”) and again, an irresistible tune wrapping it all together. “Passing Through”, which was co-written with the aforementioned Mr. Crenshaw, is as radio-friendly and pure pop as one could want without being over the top, but rather, it has that wonderful balance of pop structure while remaining true to Ms. Ryan’s style on this album. “The Broken News” has a tinge of melancholia about it and a gorgeous melody, which makes this my favorite track overall and “The Darkest Stars” is a perfect way to begin the album with just that minor-chord strum and Ms. Ryan’s voice as the song builds with a hint of a “sinister” melody.
And that’s what this album is all about. Kelley Ryan is a master of melody and of how to keep things reined in so that the natural vibe of the songs can flow, either easily or with tension. Listen carefully; listen closely. Then listen again because this is a good one.
Telescope is available now