Premiere: RYVOLI’s Breathtaking “Ulysses” Radiates Warm Light in the Dark

RYVOLI © 2018
RYVOLI’s breathtakingly beautiful “Ulysses” is a passionate folk song brimming with light, a warm blanket pulling us into a moving dream.
For fans of: The Civil Wars, The Swell Season, Overcoats

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Like a candle burning on a window sill, RYVOLI’s new single is distinguished and calming: A passionate folk song brimming with light, “Ulysses” takes us on a journey through, time, space, and ourselves, pulling us into a marvelously moving dream.

Figured out a way, a pioneer
Put a man into orbit
Watch him as the fire disappears
We’ll wager and forfeit
There’s no telling where we’ll go yet
We don’t have any way of controlling
(Ask me to get back once we’ve left)
Listen: “Ulysses” – RYVOLI


Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Ulysses,” the RYVOLI’s third song release and the latest single off their upcoming debut EP, Theories. The Lexington, KY folk duo of Jenn Whiteman and Samantha Howard, RYVOLI create breathtakingly beautiful moments full of vocal warmth and emotional depth. The musical pair met in Paris, and their name, taken from the popular street Rue de Rivoli, is a constant homage to that city of love. Introducing themselves a mere months ago with debut single “Sleep Talking,” the duo’s effortless harmonies and simple, yet provocative lyrics recall the likes of such greats as The Civil Wars and The Swell Season, as well as Overcoats and First Aid Kit.

Ulysses - RYVOLI

Ulysses – RYVOLI

Opening with a slow, heavy guitar line, “Ulysses” evokes raw energy from the very start, wrapping us in a warm blanket of sound. Yet just as we begin to drift into a trance, RYVOLI’s voices hit us like a roaring fire. Soft and devastatingly majestic, Whiteman and Howard sing with perfect pitch and heartfelt strength. There’s a melancholic hue to their evocative exhales; a subtle sadness that captures the immense weight of their song’s somber subject: The fact that, despite everything at our disposal, none of us has total control over our lives, nor can we truly predict the future. We are helpless to a world filled with chaos and unknowable possibility – a notion that’s as exciting as it is scary.

Feel the tension in the easy air
It’s weary and worried
To never fall and maybe never fly
Get stuck in a theory
There’s no telling where we’ll go yet
We don’t have any way of controlling
(Ask me to get back once we’ve left)

It’s as if the weight of the world has come crashing down in song. RYVOLI dance in the depths of darkness, but like a nightlight shining in the dark, their music serves as an anchor and buoy; it keeps us afloat, preventing our ship from plunging into cold waters. Few songs manage to take you to such a heavy place and shield you from it at the same time, but that’s the magic of RYVOLI’s art: They dazzle and sway, filling the sonic void with bittersweet sweetness.

RYVOLI © 2018

RYVOLI © 2018

“Funny enough, it wasn’t originally inspired by the story of Ulysses. I named it that because the song actually started with me reading a book about the Apollo 11 mission,” RYVOLI tell Atwood Magazine. “In the book there was a quote from a scientist saying we had the technology to see a man into orbit but didn’t know how we would get him back. That’s what first sparked the idea that we do things in life all the time that we have no idea what the outcome will be. Even the things we plan for are initial theories, because anything can happen. Since it was first inspired by space, I named it Ulysses because I thought that was the name of the first monkey sent to space. But then I looked it up and realized I was confused with this movie I used to watch all the time as a kid called, “Rocket Man,” and the monkey in that movie is named Ulysses. The first monkey sent to space was Albert,  ut that was a terrible song title, so we kept Ulysses. But upon researching the story of Ulysses, I realized the theme fits quite well… So at the end of the day, it all worked out!”

There’s half that we don’t see
Doesn’t always mean
It’s what we want, but what we need
Is obscure, isn’t sure

“Ulysses” concludes with reserved acceptance of our fate: The understanding that we may not know what will happen in the future, and that’s okay: Maybe we’re better off not knowing tomorrow, so as to focus on today. There will always be parts unknown, but they will all reveal themselves to us in time; meanwhile, why waste our energies lamenting that which is unattainable, rather than embracing the present?

A lightly philosophical journey ending on a positive note, “Ulysses” is heartwrenchingly divine. Stream RYVOLI’s latest song exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and stay tuned for more from this artist to watch as we inch closer toward their debut EP!

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:: stream/purchase “Ulysses” here ::

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Ulysses - RYVOLI

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Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com