One look at Carly Ritter‘s background and you might say that entertainment is in her blood. However, if you take one listen to her debut, self-titled album, I think you’d be more likely to come to the conclusion that music is in her soul. I had the pleasure of chatting with your new favorite folk artist recently and we got to talk about some really important things…like microbreweries, Drunk History and her recent tour supporting Matt Costa. So without further adieu, I present to you, Carly Ritter.
Brandon: How are things going in California right now?
Carly Ritter: It’s beautiful day! I’m so excited to be talking to you guys! You have a great magazine.
Brandon: Well, thank you, that’s always great to hear. Your debut, self-titled album is coming out here soon tell us a little bit about the making of this album.
Carly: Well, I had written probably four of the songs a couple years ago and I was just starting to record some demos with a group of friends that I had. That’s where Joachim Cooder and Juliette Commagere came in to the picture. I had known them from when I was in high school and admired them for the music they’ve been making since then.
They heard I was recording demos when they were talking to my older brother one day. They called me, offered to listen and see if they could help. We did that in January 2012 and then finished, I guess, the whole album in September of last year. It was about a year in that time that we finished recording those first demos and doing the final album. It was quite a fun journey. I’m in total surprise.
Brandon: It sounds great. There are a few song on there such as “Oh Farmer” and “Princess of the Prarie” that sound like they were written in the 1800s. How did that inspiration come about?
Carly: You’re right! I was first really exposed to folk music when I was 21, so I wasn’t very young. I was studying in Scotland my junior year abroad and I was hearing these old ballads where the imagery was so powerful and really struck a chord with me, so that was when the door opened and I came back to the States and was scouring the whole folk and country music genres including my grandfather, who was this amazing cowboy country-western singer; Tex Ritter.
I really feel like I discovered him for the first time then. I knew a few of his songs before, but that really opened up a huge door. Even though I never got to meet him, my dad spoke about him and there was a sense of, like….he grew up with very little and then music kind of took him around this country and he would always talk about the beauty of nature: the land and the people. I think that definitely is part of that and being connected to the land. That imagery comes up in both of those two songs mentioned.
Brandon: Readers my age and older know of your family, but young readers might not. You have a lot of entertainers in your background with both actors and singers. Was there ever a thought to go down the acting path rather than the singing path?
Carly: Not really. I kind of went away from that. I’m sort of a more shy kind of person, so I always loved watching my older brother, my dad and now my younger brother, who are wonderful actors and my mom as well. But for me, it’s been about ten years where this passion for music came about where I listened and was like, “Gosh, I want to do that!” I wanted to touch other people like the songs touched me. It really wasn’t until earlier this year that I started performing live, which is kind of crazy.
Brandon: You mentioned your brother, not to go too far off topic, but I recently saw him (Jason Ritter) on my favorite new show, Drunk History.
Carly: Oh my God, I love that show and it’s directed by one of his friends that he’s known since elementary school. They filmed early Drunk History shows at my mom’s house. It’s so funny. *laughs* The episodes you see on YouTube, many of those are at that house. It’s so funny. I love that show.
Brandon: My cousins and I all watch it. We love it.
Carly: It makes me laugh so hard.
Brandon: As you said, performing live is pretty new to you, but you did recently wrap up a tour with another one of my personal favorite artists, Matt Costa. What was it like touring with him?
Carly: I left that tour feeling so inspired and dedicated to working harder at my craft, because I would watch him every night and he’s so engaging, so talented and the songs he writes are just incredible. He was telling me that he wakes up and works on music all day long. To me that is a true artist who is so dedicated to improving himself, listening to music and being inspired and, you know, the fact that someone like him would give an artist like me that opportunity was so incredible. I have the utmost respect and gratitude to him.
Brandon: I remember seeing him twice in concert. I’m not kidding you, I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 23. He totally inspired me to pick up a guitar.
Carly: I know! I was like, “I wanna be Matt Costa.”
Brandon: Exactly! I can totally understand where you’re coming from there. You were up in my neck of the woods as well, what did you think of the Pacific Northwest?
Carly: I had never been to Seattle and it has always been a huge city in the back of my mind of the places I’d like to go to. The art and the energy there, the weather and I don’t know, it felt like a place I would be very happy moving to. I feel like I’d get so much more done in terms of songwriting. Maybe in the near future, I’ll take a little sabbatical there as a writer.
Brandon: I’m not sure if you drove through my town of Bellingham, but you definitely went past it on your way from Seattle to Vancouver.
Carly: We did! We played there! It was such a great crowd! I actually keep in touch with a few people from that show.
Brandon: I didn’t know you played Bellingham!
Carly: Yes! That’s amazing. Say hello to Bellingham! I love that place!
Brandon: Hopefully you got a chance to try some Boundary Bay Brewery.
Carly: I don’t think we did, so next time I will.
Brandon: I’ll hold you to that. Of course, Bellingham isn’t as exciting for me, since I’ve lived here my whole life, but Boundary Bay Brewery’s beer is always still exciting for me.
Carly: I’m going to make a point of going to all these specialty microbreweries on the next tour.
Brandon: Do you have any plans for another tour in the future?
Carly: The album comes out August 27th and so hopefully around then. We don’t have anything planned yet, but I would love to do another tour through Pacific Northwest and maybe a little further east as well. Hopefully we will make that happen soon. I will put dates on my list to keep people informed.
You can pick up Carly Ritter by Carly Ritter on iTunes now.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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