With 60 songs written and ready to go, Serena Ryder had some tough choices to make when starting work on her new album. She made the toughest of all: She threw them out. Every one of them. A full year's hard work into the trash.
Best thing, the Juno Award-winning artist says, she's ever done.

Ryder has earned grass-roots acclaim as a guitar-wielding singer-songwriter, an approach at the core of the five dozen songs she had on hand. Starting fresh allowed her the freedom to see that she'd only been showing one side of her talents and passions. She put down the guitar and wrote, first and foremost, for her voice and for her full musical personality. The result is Harmony, an album of wide range and deep vision, driven by a fierce love — and matching talent — for music of soulful connections, for the voice as the supreme instrument, for "pop" values at their most grounded and most reaching.

Working with producers/collaborators Jerrod Bettis (Gavin Degraw, Better Than Ezra) and Jon Levine (K'naan, Nelly Furtado) in Hollywood and at her Toronto home studio, the rush of creativity was remarkable both for the results, and its ease.

Her musical pursuits took off in her teen years, with early recordings and steady performances on the Toronto circuit, both solo and with such bands as Three Days Grace. Among her accolades is the Juno New Artist Award.

The single of "Stompa" previewed the breakthrough of Harmony as a hit at home, as well as a featured spot in an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

With his rough-hewn voice and laid-back Midwestern charm, Lee DeWyze won over millions of viewers as a contestant and eventual winner of the ninth season of American Idol. An accomplished singer, guitarist, and songwriter who had already built a following on the Chicago club scene by the time he auditioned for Idol, DeWyze dis- plays his true nature as an artist on his major-label debut Live It Up. The title track captures the easy-going sprit of the album — a breezy blend of rootsy pop, rock, and folk, anchored by DeWyze's soulful, husky voice and bright-sounding acoustic guitar.

Working with top-notch collaborators such as Toby Gad (Alicia Keys, Fergie), John Shanks (Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow), David Hodges (Kelly Clarkson, Weezer) and Norwegian production team Espionage (Beyoncé, Train), DeWyze co-wrote nearly every song on Live It Up, which he recorded while on the road over the summer with the "American Idol Live" tour. "To see my name listed in the credits was really important to me because I'm a song- writer," DeWyze says. "I also loved working with such talented writers. They all brought so much to the table and really helped me flesh out my ideas."

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Serena Ryder with Lee DeWyze

Monday, August 26 · Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:30 PM at Old National Centre