TerabithiaHollywood Records has issued Music From and Inspired by Bridge to Terabithia, the latest Disney fantasy-adventure movie. The disc offers nine pop-rock tracks, including a beautiful duet by former Sixpence None The Richer's singer Leigh Nash and Tyler James.

There are also upbeat teen pop tracks from Hayden Panettiere, Miley Cyrus (star of the Disney Channel hit series “Hannah Montana”), and Bridge to Terabithia co-star Annasophia Rob.


Matthew Ryan Matthew Ryan
From a Late Night High-Rise
(Plastic Violin)

Nashville-based folk-rock singer-songwriter Matthew Ryan has released From A Late Night High-Rise, a quietly moody album that spotlights his acoustic guitar and emotion-laden, sometimes earnestly raspy vocals.

Over his 10-disc career, the singer has worked with Lucinda Williams and Neilson Hubbard, among others, and has earned critical raves on the alt-country scene for a decade, though he's never met with critical success. His latest CD listens like a bedroom confessional, stark and troubled, but achingly honest.

The best track comes in “And Never Look Back,” which pairs a rhythm track reminiscient of New Order's “Your Silent Face” beneath Ryan's melancholy crooning about saying goodbye. Another key track is “Everybody Always Leaves,” where Ryan sings about the losses of key people in his life, while asking someone not to ever leave. Like “And Never Look Back,” this track also has an ‘80s musical reference, its chorus melody sounding a bit like The Clash's “Lost in the Supermarket.”

The disc's most personal track comes at the end, when Ryan offers a spoken word with background music tribute to his brother, who is serving a 30-year jail term. With nods to the gritty storytelling story of Bruce Springsteen and the ambient layered moodiness of Hubbard, “From a Late Night High-Rise” is a strong, subtle album that may not leave you smiling, but will leave you moved.

Hear Ryan perform these and other songs live this weekend at Schuba's in Chicago – he'll play there on Saturday, February 24 with Tim Easton.


Patty Griffin Patty Griffin
Children Running Through

With an attack that charges from R&B to Bonnie Raitt-style country blues, Patty Griffin's sixth album (and first in three years) offers a dozen tracks that never fail to liven the blood whether she's singing a lullabye or rockin' the juke joint.

The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has won the support and admiration of some of the music industry's top artists over the past 11 years since her debut album was released. Dixie Chicks and Emmylou Harris have covered several of her songs on their albums, and in 2000, when she was between record labels, Dave Matthews signed her to his own Ato Records, where she's been ever since. Others who have recorded her material include Martina McBride, Bette Midler, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Reba McEntire and Maura O'Connell.

You can hear why on her latest album, a disc of 12 new songs that seamlessly transition from the funky horn punctuations of “Stay on the Ride” to the backporch country musings of “Trapeze,” (the latter of which features harmony vocals from Emmylou Harris).

She turns up the attitude and the guitars on the rollicking “Getting Ready” where she drawl-sings about getting ready to dump a lover. An upbeat acoustic anthem of positivity follows soon after in “No Bad News” and later another message of hope comes in the orchestral-augmented “I Don't Ever Give Up.”

Whether she's delicately plaintive (“Railroad Wings”) or touching a gospel vibe (as in the piano-driven hymn “Up to the Mountain”), Griffin's music never fails to entrance.

Her songs touch the heart every time.

Catch Griffin live next month in Chicago when she plays The Vic Theater on March 28.