BY OLIVIA HERRING | MUSIC MECCA | JULY 26, 2021
If you’re in need of a good cry, or swoon over Phoebe Bridgers, or want bragging rights for “finding a musician first”, keep reading- we’ve got you covered on all three bases.
Nashville-based pop singer-songwriter Bridget Rian has been writing songs since she was 11 years old, and her years of dedication are obvious in her mature and vulnerable lyrics. Influenced by her parents’ wide array of musical tastes, Rian cites artists from Radiohead to Hank Williams as sources of inspiration. Featured on Tidal’s “Rising Folk” playlist and Apple Music’s “New in Country”, Rian’s range of influences is clear in her recent singles, allowing her music to be relevant just about anywhere.
The singles are featured on Rian’s debut EP, Talking to Ghosts, which dropped July 16th.
The EP deals with morality, loss, and nostalgia through four haunting and authentic songs. Inspired by stories about Rian communicating with ghosts as a child, the title references both her childhood chatter and her present conversations with her past self, loved ones who have died, and ghosts in general.
The second song on the EP, “Pontiac Vibe”, builds in intensity during the bridge, and is such a switch from the soft beginning, which really sets it apart from the other tracks. In the song, Rian tackles curiosity about others – where they’re going, why they’re rushing, if they’re okay – and wonders if other people think about those around them as much as she does.
A music video and live performance for “Pontiac Vibe” are slated for release in the next few weeks, giving us a glimpse of the picture Rian has created with the song.
The opening track, “Type of Girl” and penultimate “Trailer Park Cemetery” are evocative of early Phoebe Bridgers – emotional vulnerability and sonic intimacy paint vivid pictures of Rian’s experiences and introspections. “Type of Girl,” deals with self-acceptance and realizing there’s not a “type of girl” per se, rather that romantic expectations are imposed on women; quite the opposite is “Trailer Park Cemetery,” where Rian sings of her fear of loneliness and wishing to be near the living, even in death.
Each tracks’ layered instrumentals sound deceptively simple, but each listen brings forward new sounds. The live performance of “Trailer Park Cemetery” Rian released shows how effortless performance is for her, as she recreates the sound of the record to a T. Filmed at The Smoakstack in Nashville, she labels it an “Ambient goth country version” of the song; authentically beautiful vocals and home-video style visuals create an intimate and haunting performance.
“Funeral”, the final track, is one of those songs that I, as a musician, wish I had written – that’s how emotional it made me.
Written as an apology to someone she lost to addiction, Rian sings, “I hope this does you justice / I can’t find the words,” in the bridge, where the song’s purpose is driven home. It’s the kind of piece that tears at your heart, but serves as a reminder that regret is a universal feeling.
With such a promising start to her young songwriting career, it is hard to believe Bridget Rian will be slowing down any time soon – and whatever comes next, we know to brace ourselves for an emotional impact.