Woman in calavera face paint during Día de los Muertos | Photo from "Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead" ABs10

The California Folk of Carly Ritter

The music of Carly Ritter is ensconced in a world in-between. It's folksy, but not quite folk. It's brushed with Western nuance, but lacks the twang that's omnipresent in big-business, commercial country music. This is California music, the kind nurtured and harvested at the foothills, looking seaward as the marine layer dissolves into the Santa Ana winds.

Ritter's music is distinct, her lithe voice wafts over guitar strums, and stories. Her lyrics are hopeful, but realist, mixing insights on love with ruminations on existential philosophy. Music is in her blood. Her grandfather was Tex Ritter, one of the innovators of early country music in the first half of the 20th century, and her father was actor John Ritter. She grew up in Los Angeles, went to high school in Santa Monica, then left it all behind for New York. When she returned to Los Angeles years later, she rediscovered her home again and reconnected with old friends. Together again, after years apart, they made music. Her high school friend, Joachim Cooder, son of legendary Ry Cooder, had forged a music career of his own, and reunited with Ritter; he helped to shape the sound with his own brand globally-minded rock. Vanguard Records label mate, folkster Robert Francis and his sister Juliette Commagere (from synth-outfit Hello Stranger) joined them too. Joachim's father Ry, even accompanied them on a few tracks that will appear on Ritter's self-titled debut album, which comes out in August. The album sounds, and feels like California; a breezy listen with a mind for country with a heart of folk.

Carly Ritter recently stopped by the Artbound studios to share a couple of songs from her upcoming album, and to tell a few stories too.

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