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Serena Ryder and The Beauties 

The pride of Peterborough brings her big voice to the Casino

After two weeks of emails back and forth, waiting on a response, the interview was officially kiboshed Tuesday by her publicist.

Here's what they had to say: "Sorry, but we cannot make this interview happen. Apologies, but her schedule is jammed and she is not doing much media as a result."

According to Twitter, lately Ryder's been writing letters to the editor of the Peterborough Examiner trying to save her old high school, writing hit songs with The Beauties' Derek Downham and drinking a can of Coke in her sleep.

It's been four years since Serena Ryder released her record Is It OK. March saw one of the biggest voices in Canada opening for Melissa Etheridge in stadium shows across the country. Ryder and Etheridge's hit single "Broken Heart Sun," is an aggressive, intense broken heart of a duet, definitely a departure from her previous signature songs "Little Bit Of Red," "Weak In The Knees," and "Is It OK."

Ryder's no stranger to Casino Nova Scotia--- back in 2009 she had a two-night stint in The Schooner Room. Halifax Pride invited her back to perform in honour of this year's "Better Together" queer celebrations. She hits the Casino's stage on July 22 with Toronto rabble-rousers The Beauties.

Born in Millbrook, Ryder came of age in Peterborough, releasing her first album Live At Market Hall at the tender age of 15. From there she's released Falling Out (1999), Unlikely Emergency (2005), If Your Memory Serves You Well (2006) and Is It OK (2008) Her road to Canadian songstress has been paved for years now, it's obvious since her Juno win and her album If Your Memory Serves You Well going gold, her scope has broadened.

Is It OK is her first debut full-length with Atlantic Records. Recorded with Grammy-winning producer John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) at Village Recording Studios in west LA, Ryder sang her heart out.

For a band that claims it hasn't slept in years, Toronto's The Beauties join Ryder with rock 'n' roll swagger. They've been collaborating on a forthcoming album, Serena Ryder and The Beauties, produced by Broken Social Scene's boy wonder Kevin Drew.

"There are some choice Serena hits and some new collaborations in our songs," says drummer Derek Downham. "It's a great amalgamation of talents. Serena and I just wrote a few songs together---'I Am Only You,' was inspired by the notion that the only way we can love someone else, is to love yourself. 'Standing, Still,' is about letting your voice be heard, because that's the only way we will cause positive change on this planet. Words are the most powerful weapons. Weapons of mass emotion."

For Downham, music is everything.

"I've been playing music since I was six years old. The greatest part of music is that you never stop learning it," he says. "I am inspired by every player that puts themselves out there for people to see and hear, and by the incredible myriad of landscapes that surround us, urban or rural. Music moves far beyond just the realm of sound for me. It is me."

Serena Ryder w/The Beauties, Friday, July 22, 8pm, Casino Nova Scotia Schooner Room, 1983 Upper Water Street, $25/$35,


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