Monday, March 7, 2011



Methinks you're going to see more of this type of release in the near future. This mini-album collects six live and three studio tracks, and has just come out to tie in with a major tour for Ryder. Starting tonight (March 07/11) in Charlottetown, she begins a Canadian jaunt with Melissa Etheridge. It's the kind of profile gig, including a Massey Hall show, that will get reviews, and new fans, and this could/should get some sales and help promote the shows and overall career. There's even a new duet single with Etheridge which Ryder wrote, Broken Heart Sun, which lets the similar-lunged singers duke it out.

Tour tie-ins aren't a new idea, and over the years have become staples especially in European and Far East countries. You'll often see editions of, say, a Bruce Springsteen album available as an import with extra cuts, as a tour edition, or a specific Greatest Hits title, with bonus this and that. I'm happy as a clam if they're offering up new stuff, and don't make me re-buy too many tracks. There's only a touch of that here, two cuts are from her previous albums, including her cover of Cohen's Sisters Of Mercy. But with seven of nine tracks new-to-you, and a lower price, it's a decent value. Today's desperate music market needs all the gimmicks it can find, including recycling, different formats than the traditional album, and the use of every tie-in trick in the book. This is old-style promotion where you fight for every dollar available.

The core of the disc is the six-track set recording in South Carolina, a bar show for the Canadian trying to build a broader fan base. Junos back home don't mean squat here, and she has to wow 'em from the start. With Ryder, it's all about the voice, and starting with a stunning a capella version of her Melancholy Blue surely must win over audience members immediately. With a voice that powerful, we often forget she's a strong writer as well, and three of her best are here with the full band, Little Bit Of Red, Weak In The Knees and All For Love. The mini-set closes with another of unaccompanied gems, her Sing Sing, which always fools me, I'm sure it's an old big band classic she's revived. Hearing the audience whoop and clap through it, you'd do well to put her on the list of singers you have to see one of these day.

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