I had never heard of Colleen Ryan until I was perusing the bands playing Trenton’s Art All Night (for those reading in California, Brazil, or London – Art All Night is a 24 hour installation of local artists’ works while also showing local films, showcasing local bands, and drinking plenty of local brew).  Honestly the reason she caught my eye is because her last name is Ryan.  And my name is Ryan.  I tend to be a bit egocentric.  So I thought I would check out her stuff.

I’m glad I did – though writing a review of her EP The Getaway Plan at this point seems a tad late.  According to iTunes the EP was released May 27, 2016 – just over one year ago.  So I thought instead of doing a review of the album I’d break down the music I could find of hers.

I’ll start with The Getaway Plan which is a haunting, beautiful album which really showcases Colleen’s gorgeous voice and the amazing production put into the making of the music.  While I’m usually great at digging around for credits I couldn’t find who worked on this album.  Maybe they decided to be anonymous which is a damn shame because everyone who worked on this EP deserves credit.

The Getaway Plan is available on iTunes and Spotify.  I listened to this album over and over again.  I’m going to take out the lyrics for a second.  Colleen could literally just sing “BLAH BLAH BLAH” for 3 and a 1/2 minutes straight but it wouldn’t matter because her voice is so amazing …so strong.  The instrumentation is great but her voice really soars.   I’m not taking away her talent as a songwriter because she really brings together some marvelous songs.  Bring both parts together and the talent shines.  This EP really shows off her strengths as every track sounds different from each other.  She’s not stuck on the same sound.  It’s important because who wants to hear different songs that sound like the same song for five songs?  Not me.

The first song Grip is a kickass, roll down the windows, speed down the highway doing 80MPH, and sing along kind of jam.  I really liked the third song titled Show Me and then some rapper shows up to totally elevate the track even higher.  Who is the mystery rapper?  No clue…again…no credits.  I like that Colleen is able to roll together different genres to sound phenom.  Beyonce may have Jay-Z on a track…but how many times do you hear Jenny Owen Youngs, Ingrid Michaelson, Leila Broussard, or Bess Rogers give 12 bars to a rapper on their songs?  Minimal – at best.

The last song is super sexy.  It’s a track called Riot and it sounds like the type of song that should be playing during a sex scene in a flick like Fifty Shades Freed.  This whole EP just sound terrific from start to finish and it really makes me sad that it took me one whole year to find it.

Beyond another lone song on Spotify that was it for the songs of Colleen Ryan…but with some very, very quick digging I found her Bandcamp at https://colleenryanmusic.bandcamp.com.  I was happy to find that not only was The Getaway Plan also there but some other music as well.  There’s a song called I Do and Colleen actually writes commentary for the song stating she wrote it for a couple who had their first dance to it at their wedding.  And the song is fucking stunning.  It makes me want to marry my wife again just to have our first dance to it.  Or it makes me think that Colleen could probably write a song titled ‘Ryan Is Super Flippin’ Awesome’ that I can use as my theme song.  Damn…I’m getting off track here.

The Bandcamp also has an acoustic collection titled “The Beach House Sessions.”  Being from Jersey I would have also found “The Shore House Sessions” acceptable.  These four songs were recorded in 2014 and they sound wonderful – though much different than the EP.  This is to be expected since the songs are K.I.S.S. – just a guitar and some vocals.  If anything Colleen’s voice really comes out as her voice is front and center.  The songs are stripped down so you can really see the raw talent.

I found a group called Spacecoast who released an album titled Galactic Beach.  The album is actually pretty terrific and has some great things happening all at once from dance to hip hop to Colleen guesting on two tracks.  Really experimental – I dig it.  I put one of the songs, The Receiving End, above and it is a lot of fun.  The whole album sounds really good for a bunch of people who “recorded in bedrooms and basements in New Jersey and Florida between 2012 and 2013.”  I guess it really doesn’t matter how DIY you are if you have some talent.  If anything it shows Colleen’s strength in that she can really crosses genres with ease.  Pick up an acoustic guitar or put on a great dance beat and her voice is going to shine.

As I got home and started to write all this up I found a bunch more music on both Colleen’s YouTube page and her Soundcloud page.  The Soundcloud page is a bunch of fun because it seems there’s music on here that isn’t quite fleshed out yet.  We get to peer into Colleen’s mind to see where her creations start and how it ultimately comes out so crisp and polished (like The Getaway Plan).  The YouTube page seems to be a ton of covers (like the video above with Colleen belting out Janis Joplin) and from what I’ve listened to thus far it’s a great listen – even if it is a bit lo-fi.  Colleen should you read this – hook yourself up with a Vidme.

Finding Colleen’s music is just an amazing discovery – like finding the Ark after a long journey.  She really has such an unique voice that can truly separate her from her contemporaries.  Many people can sing – but when a voice like hers comes along its actually worth stopping to listen.  Hopefully the EP is just a taste to come and we can expect a full length album sometime soon.

Check out Colleen Ryan’s music at: http://www.colleenryanmusic.com.