Bound to the road, singer/songwriter Eddy Lee Ryder hitches her stunning soprano and ambitious rock epics to the odd souls she meets along the way. But her new single “Cold River” slightly inverts that approach, mirroring the chill of isolation that Ryder found herself observing on a walk along a frozen river in Upstate New York. Seeing a family in their home, each member sequestered to a different room alone, Ryder started to dwell on both the beauty and severity of such remote solitude.
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“Cold River” is a pained but overwhelmingly powerful ballad. With its icy exchanges of sharp percussion and Ryder’s crystalline cries, the song itself starts to personify that all-encompassing frigidness. “And it runs over mountains / It cuts through the canyons in a stubborn craze / And she runs, racing her shadow / Thinking she’d pass it in her stubborn days,” she howls against the song’s shuddering deluge.
The release of “Cold River” marks Ryder’s first single of 2022. Her debut EP Expected To Fly came just two years ago, announcing the arrival of the New York-based artist’s savvy in penning melodically and emotionally grandiose rock pieces. Ryder’s songs encapsulate all the lavish textures and tones of the 80s. Channeling everyone from Peter Gabriel to Fleetwood Mac, on Expected To Fly she entangles herself in the lives of the people she encounters. One of the hallmarks of Ryder’s songwriting is the immense empathy she wields within them – the tenderness with which she warms her subjects and the self-deprecation she reserves for herself. Like on “Small Apartment,” a vivacious rocker that tells the story of a testy downstairs neighbor.
“On my walk I passed a house in which everyone sat in separate rooms, isolated and on their phones, in what felt like a similarly beautiful yet cold scene,” Ryder said of the song’s inspiration. “In that moment, I couldn’t help but feel this overwhelming urge to outrun that same feeling of isolation and disinterest, but the cold always finds a way to catch-up with me. Even in the warmth of another person, I often find love to become icy cold. Some days I think it may be better to welcome the inevitable and find peace in its darkness, but in the end, the cold, much like the river, will seemingly do whatever it chooses.”