Celebrating her newest CD, Enjoy the Ride Deb Ryder and the Bluesryders brought down the house at Vitello’s
The legendary Upstairs at Vitello’s Jazz & Supper Club in Studio City was chock full of friends and musical colleagues on June 13 to cheer powerhouse Topanga singer-songwriter Deb Ryder and the Bluesryders as they triumphantly debuted their newest album, Enjoy the Ride.
With Deb Ryder’s inimitable vocals, the stellar onstage band played a tight 90-minute set of new material mixed with favorites from her first three albums.
While Deb adheres faithfully to traditional Blues style, she forges her own path with her soaring, earthy, and passionate vocals.
“This record is very near and dear to my heart,” Deb said. “I wrote harder on the lyrics than I used to; the blues was always what I wrote and was destined to get into; those are my roots, you don’t do blues music for anything else but the love.”
Deb’s onstage band featured such luminaries as Mo Beeks on keyboard.
“Mo plays with everybody,” she said. “He is involved with Dr. John in New Orleans, as well as several other bands.”
Joining Mo onstage at Vitello’s was Chris Leroi Hansen on harmonica; well-known Brazilian guitarist, Artur Menezes; David Kida on drums; Deb’s husband, Ric Ryder, on bass; Alan Maggini on lead guitar; Paul Litteral on trumpet and Andy Najera on Sax.
ENJOY THE RIDE
“Enjoy the Ride” is the fourth studio album by multi-award nominee Deb Ryder. With 13 original tracks, it is an evocative mix of multiple blues styles, back-porch, hill country, gospel stomp, R&B, and ballads.
Produced by Grammy Award-winner Tony Braunagel and executive producer Ric Ryder, the album is the next level in the progression of an artist who lives and breathes traditional Blues.
Recorded at Ultra Tone Studios, owned by guitarist Johnny Lee Schell, Deb is supported by an impressive array of some of the finest musicians in the genre: Tony Braunagel, Chris Cain, legendary Blues musician Debbie Davies on guitar, Mike Finnigan, Kirk Fletcher, Big Llou Johnson, Coco Montoya, Johnny Lee Schell and Pieter (Big Pete) van/der Pluijm.
“Our first album, “Might Just Get Lucky,” debuted in 2013,” Deb said. “It was a self-produced album with Ric. We did it on a wing and a prayer and it attracted the attention of Grammy Award-winning producer Tony Branuagel who only handles top of the heap. We are so fortunate to be at the top of the heap and we are still doing stuff together, including “Let it Rain” in 2015; “Grit Grease & Tears” in 2016 and Enjoy the Ride.
SMALL TOWN GIRL’S TOPANGA ROOTS
Born in Peoria Illinois, Deb’s family moved to Chicago where she was surrounded by the Blues of Chicago’s streets and clubs. At a very young age, she was exposed to Jazz, Blues, and Gospel by her father, Allan R. Swanson, a local singer and Chicago music sensation.
“We were like the Chicago family singers,” Deb laughed. “We would perform at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Chicago, do a number with dad and were rewarded with spaghetti and meatballs.”
After a stint in Ohio, the family relocated to Malibu. After her parents divorced, her mother moved the family to Topanga.
“Mom moved us up to Topanga,” Deb said. “We got here in 1968, my mom worked in a restaurant called Everybody’s Mother and then the Old Post Office restaurant, now Rocco’s,” Deb recalled. “Maryanne Swanson was my mother and we lived up on Basin, then Old Topanga, then behind the Corral; we also lived in my stepdad’s house, which is now Anam Cara.”
As a teenager, Deb was reintroduced to the blues through the extensive record collection of neighbor and friend Bob Hite of the band Canned Heat.
“Bob “Bear” Hite, from Canned Heat, set about giving me a blues education when he laid out his 78 records in a very specific order, especially women in the blues,” Deb said. “He probably had the most comprehensive collection of blues recordings of anyone I know.”
Hite and Canned Heat regularly performed at Deb’s stepdad’s Topanga Corral, where starting at age 13, she opened nightly for such blues legends as Big Joe Turner, Charlie Musselwhite, Etta James, Taj Mahal, and a long list of blues greats. Deb was a regular at Big Joe Turner’s weekly blues night, where she spent hours with him carefully honing her vocals, while he rehearsed the band.
During that same time, Deb spent time with Etta James who mentored her and collaborated on some projects that forever and indelibly stamped her style and sealed her love of singing and of the blues.
She studied music at UCLA, and later had a successful career as a studio musician/vocalist, performing on numerous national commercials for television, as well as background vocals on several albums. Her voice was the lead vocal for the award-winning Las Vegas show, “Splash.”
It was when she returned to and settled down to her blues roots that she met her husband, bassist Ric Ryder.
Ric, a long-time blues enthusiast and performer, encouraged Deb to write and sing the Blues. Together they formed a band, The Bluesryders, playing local clubs and blues festivals for the past 20 years.
As regulars at Topanga Days, Deb Ryder and the Bluesryders immortalized their beloved canyon with “Topanga Times,” which coined the phrase, “Livin’ on Topanga time.”
As for “Enjoy the Ride,” Deb has high hopes it will make the 2018 Grammy nomination ballot.
“Just to let you know, I’m really proud of this record. It’s doing pretty well,” she said. “It’s the hardest part about blues music; it’s a narrow path. There is a definite tradition to be followed, not a lot of going outside the box. It’s difficult to progress with each album and watch what’s going on around you. I just write what’s in my heart and leave every bit of myself. You could say this hometown girl made good.”