Daughter of Mennonite missionaries, Ms. Rachel Ries hails from the inspiring, vast expanses of South Dakota, by way of Zaire. Her formative years were filled with Congolese spirituals, Mennonite hymns and her mom singing her to sleep with The Carpenters. In her life these days, the choirs have turned into bands, the churches into clubs but her mom can still sing like Karen Carpenter.
Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and viola, Rachel marries sophisticated, at times vintage, musicality to smart lyrics. With a self-taught guitar style reminiscent of Mississippi John Hurt and vocals that at times recall Billie Holiday and early Maria Muldaur, her songs range from the romantic simplicity of jazz standards to the distilled intensity of poet Anne Sexton. Ms. Ries has an adventurous ear for melody and a voice flexible enough to accomplish it.