CSP Records Signs Massachusetts-Based Singer Janet Ryan and Will Release Her New CD, Mama Soul, on April 16
DALLAS, TX – Texas-based CSP Records has announced the signing of soul/blues singer Janet Ryan and will release her label debut CD, Mama Soul, on April 16. Ryan will kick off her tour in support of the new album with a special show on April 18 at Theodore’s Booze, Blues and BBQ in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Mama Soul showcases Janet Ryan’s powerfully soulful voice on a “baker’s dozen” 13 tracks of mostly original material, along with her unique take on the Sippie Wallace blues chestnut, “Women Be Wise.” The majority of the new CD was recorded at Audio Dallas Recording Studio in Garland, Texas, and produced by Jimmy Rogers and Paul Osborn; with two songs recorded at The Tone Zone in Holyoke, Massachusetts and produced by Ryan. The sessions feature Ryan supported by her long-time backing group, The Straight Up Band, as well as by members of the former Dallas-based outfit, Crosscut.
“The tracks on Mama Soul are an interesting marriage of many songs that we’ve road-tested and have become live-show favorites, such as “Take Your Shoes Off” and “Tired of Talking,” along with a batch of new tunes that I was really excited to record,” says Ryan about the sessions.
Janet Ryan’s amazing voice has its beginnings in New England, where she grew up and at age 16 was actually a member of a choir group that backed up immortal jazz giant Duke Ellington at one of the “sacred concerts” he performed in Connecticut during his later years. She moved to Chicago at 19 to go to school, but soon discovered all the wonderful blues clubs and lounges on the north side of the Windy City and really got her “education” singing in various bands around town. Over the years there, her “teachers” included people like Koko Taylor, Magic Slim and Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows, in classrooms such as Biddy Mulligan’s, Kingston Mines and other legendary blues joints in the city.
Janet moved back east in 1989 to be closer to her family and lived in several New England states before finally settling in Western Massachusetts near Springfield. As she began to tour again in the northeast, her reputation as a powerfully soulful singer and crowd-pleasing performer grew with shows in venues throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and her home state. Several festival performances helped fuel the fire, as audiences raved about Ryan and The Straight Up Band’s high energy blues shows.
Ryan’s voice blends the wailing sound of the blues with the deeply soulful internalized grit of rhythm and blues to form a potent combination. Her influences include everyone from Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin, to Otis Redding, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. She’s performed with the likes of John Hammond, Guitar Shorty, James Cotton, Solomon Burke Johnny Winter, Dickey Betts and The Blind Boys of Alabama, to name but a few.
Although live performing is still a viable love of hers, in recent years Janet has transmitted her passion by instructing children about the joys of music, becoming a music teacher at two elementary schools in her area and also becoming a director of vocal music studies at a local school.
While she continued to perform locally, Janet was not pursuing a recording deal when an out-of-the-blue encounter through a performance in a film documentary caught the ears of Jimmy and Connie Rogers, owners of CSP Records in Texas, who heard her sing a snippet of a song she had written. As a result Janet Ryan flew down to Dallas in August of 2012 and began recording the sessions that would become Mama Soul.
“I had just about given up on the music business,” remembers Ryan, “when this opportunity came out of nowhere that seemed like a sign that I still had more songs to sing. It’s been the biggest surprise of my life.”
Fans of blues and soul music are in for a very pleasant surprise of their own when they hear the music on Mama Soul.