It's Hard to Know

by Ivy Ross Ricci

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shay I produce a Story Telling series called Nevertheless, We Persist - Stories by Women. This should be our theme song..... Favorite track: Girls Sit Screaming.


"'It's Hard to Know' is a smooth ride; full of country style and poetic altruism. Ivy's many years as a songwriter are on display throughout this latest album. The more I listen to 'It's Hard to Know' the more it penetrates as a significant contribution to this time in my life."
~Dylan Provost

"Each song makes you smile for a different reason" ~Alisa Starr

Ivy Ross Ricci and Lucky Brown carried their hats and h.o.m.e. (harmony of mind everywhere) around the country with them for five years, the grateful recipients of one residency after another from Washington to Hawaii to Maine to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Then a phenomenon in San Marcos, Texas stopped them in their tracks.

Throughout their time on the road, the one thing that never faltered was their prolific creation of new music. Too often, due to listeners' shortening attention spans and understandable stigmas against the 'singer-songwriter', the songs rarely seemed to be HEARD.

In the hill country of Texas however, songs and the mysterious craft of songwriting seemed to bubble up from the ground. In San Marcos, while taking care of a yoga studio, garden, and 3 extraordinarily relational cats, Ivy & Lucky lived around the corner from a creaky old former cotton gin along the railroad tracks called Cheatham Street Warehouse.  

Every Wednesday evening, Lucky and Ivy would stroll across the train tracks, over the river, and into the resonant wooden sanctuary often referred to as songwriter's church.

Cheatham Street left an indelible imprint on Ivy's heart of a strong culture among songwriters that revered sharing original songs as a way of creating community and inciting social change. After decades of touring and performing, Ivy finally found herself in a field that she had been dreaming ever since she read about the songs of social change of the '60s when she was a teenager.

In Texas, co-writing songs with other songwriters was encouraged as a way of expanding one's songwriting vocabulary and breaking out of personal and potentially limiting tendencies. For Ivy, the experience of co-writing added another dimension to an intrinsic element of writing powerful songs and poems that entails approaching something familiar and seeing it in a whole new way. Indeed, the seeds of creativity, craft, and collaboration that the venue's founder Kent Finlay had sown in 1974 delivered a renewed sense of the dignity of this medium for Ivy & Lucky.

Being inside the wooden walls of Cheatham Street felt like being inside of a guitar, and when someone was playing a song, you'd best be quiet - even if you didn't like it. You listen like there's something to learn, because there is.

As a way of honoring the songs that she had been accumulating during the trail of residencies, Ivy began to dream about whose musical voices she would like to hear on her newest work if she could work with anyone at all, near or far.

She invited the following musical inspirations from various eras of her life all over the country:

her childhood friend and band-mate Matt Barrick (The Walkmen);
her devoted husband Joel Ricci (Lucky Brown);
former bandmate and forever wonder sister Shana Falana in New York;
International Humanitarian Aid Worker Kayla Mueller;
Anna Shelton (Baptist Arms);
Mae Starr (Rollrball);
childhood buddy Nick Stumpf in Los Angeles (The French Kicks);
Dan Lowinger in Portland(Audios Amigos)
Doug Krebs in Colorado;
Ellen O'Meara in Austin;
Dan Kubick in Vermont;
Adam Selzer;
Nate Lumbard;
& Lily Kreutzer.

One by one, they said YES.

This album is full of honest, friendly, and vulnerable tales of transformation.

It is dedicated to the healing of hearts, the freeing of minds, and the benefit of all beings


released September 22, 2017

Tracks 1-8 recorded by Adam Selzer at Type Foundry Studio, Portland, OR.
Drums for tracks 1-8 recorded by Matt Barrick at Dr. Preuss Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Horns for tracks 7 & 8 recorded by Jason Gray at Blue Mallard Studio, Seattle, WA.
Tracks 9 & 10 recorded by Ben Scaggs & mixed by Austin Sisler at Fire Station Studios, San Marcos, TX.
Track 11 recorded by me at San Marcos School of Yoga under many watchful eyes.
All tracks mastered by none other than Doug Krebs.


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Ivy Ross Ricci Port Angeles, Washington

Ivy's original songs exude gumption, gratitude and often educational material. As with her myriad creative endeavors: spontaneous synchronized dance moves, audience participation, and an appointment with the sacred clown are de rigueur.

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Track Name: Girls Sit Screaming
For More Information on the Girls Sit Screaming Movement, please visit

looks so easy for the boys
to make noise
while the girls sit screaming in their seats
silently scared to eat

why should she feel afraid
to take up space
take up space
and why have we created a place
where the girls don't know their own grace?

must be nice to think the world is yours
Walk right through the open doors
and get paid at least what you are worth
then run around without a shirt

why isn't she getting paid
for the work that she made?
and why is a mother feeding her babe
any cause for her to feel shame?

raise your voices in the streets
in your home
in your own mind

re-write the stories that they'll read
in libraries
in futurekind

we were strong in so many ways
moments of endless days
we were not willing to pay
for the debt our fathers made
Track Name: Summer Lament
One foot in front of the other
That’s right you can follow, follow your feet
One foot in front of the other
You know you are where you, where you’re meant to be

I have tried to be quiet
Oh and play the game nicely
But I can not deny it
All God’s children STILL ain’t free

Now people are dyin
Killin each other
And we all are cryin
For the skeleton key

One foot in front of the other
That’s right you can follow, follow your feet
One foot in front of the other
You know you are where you, where you’re meant to be

There is no use in silence
in the presence of violence
We must protect the weary
From the elite

Prayin for guidance
A heart of forgiveness
Trouble soon be over
For you and for me

One foot in front of the other
That’s right you can follow, follow your feet
One foot in front of the other
Until we all march on march on to victory

with references to songs by: Johnny Cash; Blind Willie Johnson; and James Weldon Johnson.
Track Name: Oh My Grace
“Oh my Grace, I close my eyes
You Bring me home”, I am revived
Wide awake as your face
Melts my heartache away

Oh my Grace I have flown

A cloud in the sky into my own

How you’ve grown

Let my tears wash your heartache away

“The part of me that pained the most
also got me out of bed
without your hope
there would be nothing left”

Oh my Grace a cloud can become rain, snow or ice any which one-but not nothing.
No, it must turn into something new.

Oh my Grace I am not gone
I have just changed to a different form
I’m the rain
let me freefall your heartache away.

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