Releasing a solo EP during a pandemic takes extra time, work, and creativity to get the word out about new music. When Audubon Park resident Christy Merry decided she wanted to record a solo album, she did not realize its release would be completely virtual. Her five-song EP, here for you, encompasses different periods in Merry’s life, and includes post-modern folk-rock, hip hop, electronic, and acoustic flares throughout the song set. Each song is unique, but all have an overarching set of themes.
“It’s about trying, taking risks, and facing fears,” Merry said. “It’s about pursuing dreams, helping each other, and being compassionate about others and ourselves — all of those kinds of things.”
The album, produced by Matt Patrick and recorded locally at the Library Recording Studio (77 13th Ave NE), was released on Friday, Feb. 5 during a Zoom event. The virtual release party included amateur videos made for each song on the EP by Merry and her husband, Tommy, who is also a local musician. Each song and video were played during the release party with chances to ask questions and discuss the music in between songs.
Much of the album lyrics were written when Merry lived in different cities, including two in New York City while riding the subway. Merry also lived in Los Angeles for a short time and recorded a demo of “Peter’s Lullaby,” one of the songs on the new EP, with local producer Brian Kehew.
Merry started to take interest in performing music while attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. She and some of her peers formed a band called “Thursday James.” Merry agreed to write all the lyrics and perform with the band backing her vocals. Following college, Merry moved to Los Angeles and helped form a group called “Old Souls.” In New York, Merry performed at local cafes, coffeeshops, bars and other venues with another performer she met in the city. After moving back to Minnesota in 2011, Merry met her husband Tommy, and made Northeast Minneapolis her home in 2016 when they moved to Audubon Park.
Focusing primarily on performing poetry after her return to Minnesota, Merry became a resident performer at the Coffee Shop NE, 2852 Johnson Street NE, and performed both music and poetry at Eat My Words Bookstore, 214 13th Ave NE. While performing at the Coffee Shop NE, Merry soon started to introduce some music into her repertoire.
“My first time [I performed] I realized this is mostly a music open mic,” said Merry. “I figured out a song I could share, and I just opened with an a cappella song and then did my poetry set. That became what I did. I was the poet of that open mic for a couple years.”
Merry is in the process of releasing a poetry book she wrote to help raise funds for another local musician, Jessa Roquet of Gambler’s Daughter, who is currently battling liver cancer. Its title: “Before Cancer Comes for Me.”
“It’s based on my personal experience, and struggling with friends and family, dying of cancer, and dealing with the experience of grief,” Merry said.
Inspired by women in her own family, Merry hopes to continue making music and writing poetry. Merry hopes to inspire others who may be on the fence about pursuing their artistic goals.
“My mom used to say that my Grandma would sing over the dishes and that she would sing like one of the greats,” said Merry. “I don’t know that anyone ever heard her sing. My mom, when she was younger, had been invited to perform with somebody, and she turned it down because her voice wasn’t always consistent. Mine [voice] isn’t, either; I have allergies. I feel like I’m kind of breaking a chain of not taking [risks] and putting things out there. I’m taking a risk.”
Below: A poetry book is also in the works. Christy Merry recording at the Library studio. (Provided photos)