HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, Calif.
INFLUENCES: Hank Williams, Jackie DeShannon, Nancy Sinatra
ALBUM: Carly Ritter, out now

The daughter of actor John Ritter and granddaughter of country singer Tex Ritter, Carly Ritter has a rich entertainment pedigree. She grew up listening to the rock ’n’ roll in her parents’ record collection, and played classical piano and harp as a teen. But it wasn’t until Ritter began studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland that she finally understood the musical draw of her family legacy. “That was a special time for me,” she says. “I was exposed to these old ballads, and the imagery was strong, heartbreaking, haunting and beautiful.” Ritter later contemplated a variety of career options—administrative assistant, actress, nurse—but the seeds of a musical career had been planted. “When I came back to the States, I spent my last year of college in the basement of the library scouring sheet music for all these old folk songs, spirituals, blues and country songs,” she says.

Ritter’s self-titled debut album was recorded in a vintage Hollywood studio with a producing team that included husband and wife Joachim Cooder and Juliette Commagere, along with Joachim’s father, legendary guitarist Ry Cooder, and Juliette’s brother, multi-instrumentalist Robert Francis. “Joachim and Juliette have such a feel for mid-’60s and ’70s music, and they’ve got this amazing sound,” she says. “And of course, Ry Cooder and Robert Francis. They all know that music so well, and how to bring that feel to my songs.” After completing a four-song demo, Ritter was offered a deal with Vanguard Records, which meant further collaborations with her new team. “It was so humbling to be in a room with all of them, seeing how they work and communicate,” she says. “They speak this special language. It was so much fun to be part of that.”


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