Rylee Madison,
The Life of Rylee
(Madison Drive, 2002)

This CD opens with a driving guitar and draws you right in. The sound is very like Mary Chapin Carpenter but the sentiments are 100 percent Rylee Madison. There is a feeling of personal experience in most of the 10 self-penned tracks on offer. I like the album title and, appropriately, her happiness seeps through to the listener.

Her titling betrays a sort of mobile-phone texting influence with names like "It All Comes Back 2U" and "B4 I Die." This is purely an observation and not a criticism. In fact, her style is very much drawing the honoured song-writing tradition well into the modern age.

My favourite track is "Family," on which she shows a great grasp of the song-writing talent for taking the mundane and crafting a lovely, upbeat song. Lines like "pictures of my Mamma's Mamma's Mamma on down" and "they're branches in the roots right under me" give some idea if the witty use of language used.

"You'd Cry Too" is another fine track with excellent backing and production. "Giving In" is a well-written and thoughtful song about life and compromise. It combines great lyrics with a very nice tune.

"Life is Good" is an optimistic "feel good" song and should be an omen for Rylee. She states an ambition that by 50 she will be making a living writing songs rather than jumping around a stage. Based on the tracks here she certainly has the talent and diversity to be a major writer. I would hope that she continues to "jump around" for a while, though, because her own interpretation of her music is great to listen to.

Having already had her songs performed successfully by other artists, this Nova Scotian is more than one rung up the ladder. This CD with decent exposure should boost her even further up; let's hope it gets her the notice she deserves.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 17 May 2003

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