HER CROOKED HEART is the new name; the new music of Rachel Ries – multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, hired gun, singer. Her Crooked Heart’s first release, To Gentlemen (CD & 7” vinyl EP), comes complete with Rachel’s own limited edition artwork and features members of Bon Iver & Field Report.
Along with numerous and diverse collaborators through the years, Rachel has proven herself ever-curious to expand her sound, her scope, and sail on past the confines of ‘singer-songwriter.’ After all, sometimes what the heart wants is poetry and a syncopated horn line; a string section and a bass synth – all leaving exultation and devastation in their wake.
But one thing has remained true since RR’s first homespun release: her sly and compassionate voice, excavating the depths of an all-too-human heart, armed with levity and a pen. It’s the messy humanity that’s of interest here. The trying and failing; the loving and losing and loving again. The choosing to be brave even when you’re shaking in your tattered boots. So please, make welcome: Her Crooked Heart. She’s been here all along.
PAST WORK (as Rachel Ries):
In Spring 2016 Rachel released Cardinal; a handcrafted EP of songs written while on residency in Rouen, France. For Rachel, each of the songs is a key; a direction; a red-blooded essential for living – be it bravery, belief in one's path or the bonds of family and blood. Each Cardinal includes a limited edition linoleum block art print, handmade by Rachel herself. Recorded by the inimitable Jeremy Messersmith in Minneapolis.
A well-lauded, ambitious album co-produced by David Vandervelde, Ghost of a Gardener (2014) features a duet with Gregory Alan Isakov, members of Cuddle Magic and cameos by Devon Sproule, Carrie Elkin, Danny Schmidt and many others. The album was recorded in Chicago in winter 2012/13 at Pieholden Suite Sounds, studio of the late Jay Bennett (Wilco).
In the winter of 2012, Rachel spent a month tucked away and writing in eastern Tennessee. The
In 2007 Rachel put her heart into making her second album, Without a Bird. Warmly analog and carefully orchestral, Without a Bird showcases the artistry of some of Chicago’s finest players: Kevin O’Donnell (Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, Neko Case), Joel Paterson (Devil in a Woodpile, Kelly Hogan, Steve Dawson), Alison Chesley (Bob Mould, Verbow, Poi Dog Pondering) and Ariel Bolles (Bakelite 78). Without a Bird was recorded & mixed analog and is available on both CD & vinyl through Rachel’s own label, SoDak Records.
Rachel's first album, For You Only, was released on Waterbug Records in August of 2005. For You Only is a charming and literary work given additional breadth with a laid-back smattering of banjo, fiddle, piano, accordion, pump organ and percussion. Judith Edelman for Acoustic Guitar magazine writes, “The album was recorded on vintage analog equipment, presumably to further capture a bygone sound. Some artists might need the boost in creating atmosphere, but Ries is well up to the task of invoking mood, memory, and nostalgia all on her own.”