Molly Ryan

REVIEW: Molly Ryan “Sweepin’ the Blues Away”


Molly Ryan – Sweepin’ The Blues Away

There’s nothing more satisfying than discovering a young chanteuse that sings effortlessly & with class in a genre decades from her own generation. Yet, Molly Ryan — a superb NYC jazz stylist gets it. And she passes it on to younger people who may have never discovered these. She sings vintage songs written when dairy men delivered the morning whole milk in 4 bottles & in winter cream would form under the lid. When mothers hung their wash on laundry lines with clothespins & the wash would smell so clean & fresh when she gave them to you. These songs are whole milk & clean wind-fresh laundry.

Molly Ryan

Far & away from today’s mainstream mediocre songs these chestnuts live again & not nostalgically but as a rediscovery. Polished with new life — if you thought no one would be interested you’d be wrong. The California native has already established herself in many premier NY high-class night spots that find favor with this repertoire. There must be an audience that appreciates them – because they come. The band is subtle & smooth & possesses the era in their fingers & lips. Molly not only sings these songs well she shows why they should be. Why they still matter.

This is Molly’s 5th solo CD & features 11 classics from 1909 to 1941. Ms. Ryan did her homework on Sweepin’ The Blues Away (Drops Nov 11–Turtle Bay Records) recorded in Brooklyn, NY & marvelously realized & produced by Scott Asen.


What Molly achieves on these cuts is what a singing teacher can’t teach. Style with class, aplomb, sassiness, personality, atmosphere, & groove & translating it effectively through glossy red lips with a sparkling smile. Ms. Ryan has these qualities.

There have been other artists who dabbled in this – Madeleine Peyroux (“I’m Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself a Letter” – 1932) is one & Joy Eden Harrison (“I’ll Be Alright”) with a Billie Holiday tint.

An annotated insert is included that discusses each song & its songwriters. The 46-minute CD features accomplished musicians who sparkle as interpreters — Dan Levinson (tenor sax/clarinet), Rossano Sportiello (piano), Rob Adkins (bass) & Kevin Dorn (drums).

Highlights – 1928’s “If You Want The Rainbow (You Must Have The Rain)” recorded beautifully in the 20s by 2 remarkable jazz-age queens — Annette Hanshaw & Lee Morse. “The Folks Who Live On the Hill” (1937), “Get Yourself a New Broom” (1933), the superb “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” (1940), “I’ll Sit Right On the Moon” (1912), “I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket” (1936), & “You & I” (1941) among many others.

I’d like to hear Molly do Annette Hanshaw’s 1927 classic “Who’s That Knockin’ At My Door,” that would be a great live performance piece. It was used in the award-winning 2008 animated film “Sita’s Sings the Blues.”

Color portrait courtesy of Molly Ryan’s website. CD @ &


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