How It’s New York:  Cathie Ryan is moving to New York State, and we expect to see her turning up at concerts and sessions from now on.  Lots of great New York musicians play with her include Catskills Irish Arts Week favorite, Matt Mancuso (and Cathie told me she’s going to be recording a new track for the upcoming album up in the Catskills!)  She’s playing just one date in the metropolitan area right now though– this Saturday, Oct. 1, 8 p.m. at Sanctuary Concerts in Chatham, NJ.
How It’s Irish:  Cathie’s parents are Irish; she grew up in the Irish community in Detroit, and she’s been living in Ireland for the past 8 years.

She’s considered one of the best, purest voices in Irish music.

Ticket giveaway!  email me Cathie’s hometown (yes, I just said it!) for a pair.  

This article comes from Irish Examiner this week.

Tuesday September 27, 2011

Cathie Ryan’s Returning To The States

By Gwen Orel
After living on the Cooley peninsula for the past eight years, singer-songwriter Cathie Ryan is coming back to the States. She’s about to start a tour, with just one date in the New York area: October 1st at Sanctuary Concerts in Chatham, New Jersey.
Anyone who’s heard her warm, rich voice won’t want to miss it.
We have tickets to give away; email us ( with the name of Cathie’s hometown to be eligible! The answer is in the interview.
You’ll hear some of her favorites and also a few from the new album From the Well, due out in March 2012 (“god willing, and the creek don’t rise,” she says).
Cathie sang for seven years with Cheirsh the Ladies, then explored her American roots and Irish heritage in four widely hailed CDs for Shanachie records: Cathie Ryan; The Music of What Happens; Somewhere Along the Road; and The Farthest Wave; she’s also been on more than 40 compilations, including A Woman’s Heart.
This September she appeared on NPR’s legendary live folk music program Mountain Stage.
Why did you want to move to Ireland?
It was a dream of mine since I was a kid. I had lots of relatives there, grandparents, aunts and uncles and lots of friends, and the music I love was born there. I wanted to live in a rural area, and be by the sea. I found a little cottage overlooking the mountains of Mourne. It was a little area and I felt I was being held.
Why are you coming back?
My son Patrick Henry – I missed him and wanted to hang out with him. Also, the economy. It was time. I’m looking forward to having time to write. I won’t be as social here (in Ireland I was always having and going to dinner parties). I’m moving to Hartsdale, NY, not Manhattan.
The pace here is much quicker and there’s an edge here that doesn’t exist there. In Ireland if you were crossing the street too slowly, as I did last night, instead of laying on the horn they’d say “och sure go on take your time love.” They’d be cursing you under their breath. But you wouldn’t hear it!
How did you get into singing?
I’m from Detroit. Nobody thinks of Detroit as a real Irish town, but it was in my time, and a great town for step dancers. Our main place to hang out was the Gaelic League, which was right downtown beside Tigers Stadium.
I went to some Feises when I was about 18, and I’m happy I did, because it was at a Feis that one of the judges, Wallace hood from Belfast, came up to me and said “you could make a living at this if you wanted to.” That planted a seed.

It’s been a while since The Farthest Wave (2005). What’s on the new one?
This is really a retrospective of everything I’ve done, with a few new songs added. It’s the whole of my career for last 25 years.

Who’s playing with you on the tour?
I’m so lucky. Patsy O’Brien on guitar and harmony vocals, and Matt Mancuso on fiddle and trumpet and mandocello, and harmony vocals.
What’s your favorite thing about touring?
Singing with a room full of people. I love that. I don’t get paid for singing, I get paid for the driving and the flying and the tour management work. To be on a stage in a room full of people making music, there’s nothing better in the world. I love it.
What do you never travel without?
Coffee. My own coffee. I get up in the morning and I make my little French press full of very strong coffee and then I feel like I’m ready for the world. It goes with me everywhere.
What are you listening to?
I just spent a week in Grand Marais, Minnesota (for Mountain Stage), listening to Cheryl Wheeler and John Gorka and Kathy Mattea and John Vezner and Tim O’Brien and I went out and bought all their CDs!
Irish music?
Oh yes, Mairead ni Mhaoinaigh, Christy Moore. When I was in Dingle, listening to Brendan Begley and Michelle Mulcahy.
Being in Ireland has changed my sensibility, I got asked to sing American songs all the time. My cousin’s son has a Johnny Cash tribute band in Donegal. When I’m at a dinner pary, we start singing Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. They love American music in Ireland and they get it. They really get it. It is Irish music, just coming back to them through this country. 
Cathie plays The Sanctuary Concerts, October 1, at 8 pm in the Presbyterian Church, 240 Southern Boulevard, Chatham, NJ

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.