Bryhanna Greenough talks with MusicNL’s 2006 Female Artist of the Year and hurtin’ song expert Sherry Ryan about matters of the heart.
What role does love play in your music?
If you look at the theme of my last album – Bottom of a Heart – many songs that had to do with love were hurtin’ songs. There were frustrating patterns that were reoccurring… The song “Bottom of a Heart” is actually about fixing those patterns. That’s the last song on my album and the last song I wrote before I recorded my album and it’s a transition. It’s a growth, really.
Have people ever come up to you after shows and say that you’ve described what has been happening in their life?
Yeah, I have had people say “you’ve totally just described what I’ve been going through.” Or “this is the soundtrack of my life.” And it’s usually a breakup and a love relationship relating to my Bottom of a Heart album.
Some people cry. A couple of people have said the song “This Old Boat” makes them cry. There’s a line in the chorus that goes “When night falls they won’t see you cry.”
How does it make you feel to know that people are responding like that?
It makes me feel good, in a sick way. [laugh]
I love it when something moves me. It’s good to release. It makes me feel good. And so it makes me feel good for that person, because there’s nothing wrong with a good cry.
Are there any love or heartbreak songs or albums that you find yourself going back to for inspiration?
I was listening to The Cardigans not too long ago, “Long Gone Before Daylight.” …That’s something to listen to when you’re going through heartbreak. And I don’t know if I specifically listen to Lucinda Williams “World Without Tears” for inspiration, but that song is so raw. She doesn’t hold back, and I like that.
Do you have any tips for dealing with heartbreak?
That’s a tough one. There are no guidelines, really. There probably are, but I don’t know them. Yeah. Sorry. I’d end up saying something sappy. [laugh]
…Well, I’ve been trying to explain this to people lately. It’s kind of simple: If it doesn’t feel good, and the person you’re with doesn’t make you feel good, then get away! Because there’s someone around who will.
It’s that simple.
Some of my newer songs are about that. “He’s Not Gone” is one of them. He’s not gone, and I don’t seem to mind. It’s just these people who put up with it and it’s putting the onus on yourself. Like, “oh, he did this to me, but I’m attracted to these kinds of guys.” Well you don’t have to be like that. Stop saying you are! Do something. Get rid of the guy.
It’s hard to find a balance. There’s being comfortable and not wanting to leave and then there’s the other end where you’re expecting a relationship to sustain a level of excitement and it’s taking you for a wild ride through your life.
I think that’s why people end relationships and go into the next one so quickly because they don’t want to deal with the hard work.
It’s never easy to open up and share your life with someone.
Why do you think love so complicated?
It’s so complicated and I’ve got it all wrapped up in one word. That’s a good one. [laugh]
Sherry Ryan’s album “Bottom of a Heart” is available in stores.