Deb Ryder – Enjoy The Ride
13 tracks/55 minutes
Enjoy The Ride is Deb Ryder’s fourth album and it appears to me to be her best yet. Her powerful and strident vocals deliver a huge performance that makes the listener take notice. All the tracks here are originals that she wrote and they all are top notch.
Ryder has several musical guests in addition to her fine band. Coco Montoya, Kirk Fletcher and Chris Cain appear on guitar and Cain also offers up a fine vocal duet. “Big Pete” Peter Van/der Pluim is on harp for most of the tracks, too. Tony Braunagel is on drums and he produced the CD. Johnny Lee Schell is her guitar player and plays bass on two tracks. Mike Finnegan is on keys and also does a vocal duet with Deb. James Hutch Hutchinson, Kenny Gradney and Bob Glaub are also on bass. Mark Pender lends his trumpet to track 3 and Joe Sublett plays tenor sax on that cut and 3 others. A host of backing vocalists fill out the record nicely.
From the opening note of this CD, one senses that this is going to be a fun ride. Ryder begins with “A Storm’s Coming,” a bouncing and driving tune with a stinging guitar lead by Coco Montoya. Ryder’s strident vocals and the guitar work makes this opening song impressive. Next up is “Temporary Insanity” featuring Kirk Fletcher who makes his presence known early, offering up some very tasty guitar licks for us. Ryder gives a forthright performance and the piano work adds a nice dimension. Fletcher’s tone is hazy and a little dirty, making for a cool contrast of sounds. “Bring The Walls Down” has Chris Cain on guitar and Big Llou Johnson on a voice over. Cain’s guitar style stands out, too, with that big hollow sound that always reminds me a lot of B.B. King. Van G. Garrett offers up some poetic spoken word, too. Ryder’s vocals are again big and grab the listener’s attention as do the horn section. “Nothin’ To Lose” has some good harp work featured out front and we get to hear Deb’s guitar player featured for the first time and he does a great job. Ryder growls out the vocals while harp and guitar are right there with her, making for another cool cut.
Slow blues are next in “For The Last Time.” Ryder offers up very passionate vocals and the organ and guitar backing her helps set the mood. Mike Finnigan’s vocal duet with Deb is also quite well done- he gives us some deep and soulful emotion to his work with Deb.”What You want from Me” has a little of that Bo Diddley beat going for it and a church-like approach to the lead and backing vocals. This Gospel tune is cool and features some well done organ and guitar. The title track follows, a cut with a big and driving beat and the harp answering Debs vocal calls in the verses. Chris Cain returns in “Got To Let It Go” with his signature guitar sound and then he comes in for a duet with Deb. The two get it on vocally for a really fun cut.
“Life In Fast Forward” is a rocking, mid tempo song with the guitar and harp out in front. Ryder’s vocals continue to shine and backing vocalists play a big role. Debbie Davies is on board on the guitar for the next two tracks. “Sweet Sweet Love”” has a great lead and a great solo. on guitar The sax plays the biggest role here of the four cuts with tenor; well done. The organ also adds nicely to the mix. “Goodbye Baby” is a gutsy and bouncy tune with Ryder once again showing her chops. The guitar by Davies gets a little funk going and the support on organ and by others is up to the task. “Forever Yours” is a breezy and more ethereal rock cut with laid back vocals and a pretty and mellow guitar solo. The finale is “Red Line,” with some dirty harp and forceful vocals by Deb. Distorted and fuzzed up guitar add to the sound and feel. Big Pete’s harp play a major role, too- a nice finish to a nice album!
Deb has found her place in the blues world. She consistently delivers high quality vocals with power when she needs it and restraint when it is called for. She has become one of the top female vocalists out there. When you add a fine band and guests who blend their talents with Ryders, you wind up with a fine album that will likely garner accolades in next year’s blues awards.
Most highly recommended!