Catch the Sunset
Barb Ryman's CATCH THE SUNSET is a culmination of her artistry, intertwined with wisdom learned and perspective honed over the years. Ryman's sixth CD reveals her most poignant portraits to date. With Barb's love of nature finding a home in the human condition, she paints a spectrum of color in the characters and experiences portrayed with her intuitive approach. Not afraid to expose the subtleties that often loom much larger in our lives and culture, Barb creates a stage "where the forgotten voices and untold stories" find a showcase washed in empathy and grace, often with redemption close by. Listen to Barb's Scary Mari, a true story of a disenfranchised artist, ostracized by society at large but who prevailed in the end staying by believing in herself. Or immerse yourself in the 'ghost narrative' in Soldier's Daughter of Barb's own father, a pilot during the Cold War, who was torn each time he left his family to fly a covert mission and in the end, became a casualty of the Cold War himself. As Barb can speak for those we wouldn't otherwise know, she also can get to the heart of what ails our society. She adeptly tackles corporate America in two very different songs, Take and the cleverly juxtaposed Nursery Rhymes. Equally, Barb writes reflectively, looking back over a past rich in experience with reference to her own childhood dreams, still so vibrant in Unicorns & Castles, or in the title track, Catch the Sunset, where she evaluates her life's journey while uncovering her youthful philosophy "all my life I've been traveling west, like a child I believed I could catch the sunset." And of course there are songs of love and relationship, whether as a metaphor in Spring Return, or as stark admissions in Confession. Ryman's CD is recorded with a unique production that complements her writing while never overtaking the song. Barb's melodies use the dynamics of her range, keeping the listener engaged musically while lyrically pulling us in to hear her intimate tellings. A year in the making, Ryman co-produced CATCH THE SUNSET with renowned percussionist, Marc Anderson. It also boasts some of the great players of the Midwest including Prairie Home Companion musicians Prudence Johnson on harmonies and Peter Ostroushko on mandolin and fiddle. There's a host of other supporting players sprinkled throughout the CD, including the beautiful bass of Enrique Touissaint, who when not doing studio work tours with Paul Anka. A mature work that will capture those of us who have delved below the surface, Barb's own story is compelling. Although she performed throughout high school and college, upon marriage, career and two children, her guitar resided in her closet, only to come out again two decades later. Yet, as the music called to her, Barb couldn't remember the songs she played in her youth so put pen to paper to fill the void, releasing her first CD in 1992, and leaving her speech therapy career for touring in 2003. Now eight years later CATCH THE SUNSET glistens with the polished touches of it's rough-hewn honesty that is sure to stand the test of time.