Serena Ryder has earned grass-roots acclaim as a guitar-wielding singer-songwriter, an approach at the core of the five dozen songs she had on hand. Starting fresh allowed her the freedom to see that she’d only been showing one side of her talents and passions. She put down the guitar and wrote, first and foremost, for her voice and for her full musical personality. The result is Harmony, an album of wide range and deep vision, driven by a fierce love — and matching talent — for music of soulful connections, for the voice as the supreme instrument, for “pop” values at their most grounded and most reaching.
Throughout each song is a blend of a joyous embrace of a wide range of styles, at all times honoring her whole musical life: The girl who sang along to her mom’s record collection before she ever picked up a guitar and the woman who had fallen under the seductive sway of generations of dynamic, poetic singer-songwriters.“When I first started playing guitar I learned from listening to Neil Young,” she says. “And I learned to write lyrics from him too, and Tracy Chapman, Ben Harper, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, John Prine, Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson. And on my guitar that was how I always wrote.”