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'Insomnie' An Alt-Pop Symphony of Sound & Emotions from the artist formerly known as Carly Taich

Local Music Makers

By Peggy Ratusz

As an elder musician and music lover, I have to confess that I am only somewhat evolved when it comes to seeking and appreciating new music from most genres.

Fortunately for me and now for all of you, our April Local Music Maker, 32 year old New Song Finalist, Carly Taich Kotula (aka Moon Bride) invited me to listen to and then talk with her about her new release, a concept album of 11-strong, nocturnal tracks she’s called Insomnie.

Since this is her third record release but the first one using her new stage name, I thought I’d ask her, why the change from using her given name professionally, to using ‘Moon Bride’.

“Taich is hard to pronounce and spell. It was hard to market myself. I don’t rely on management, agents or labels. There are great industry people out there helping artists to be more known.

"But I’m proud that I do it all myself. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I cannot just be an artist. I have to be a business woman, a marketing expert. I want to keep growing and make money but it’s not all about money; it’s about my ability to keep doing what I love.

"This shift has helped me feel more independent with my career; so that I don’t worry about finding a gate keeper to lift me up.”

Gate keepers are listening to this new record. Since our interview a few short weeks ago, the rave reviews are beginning to pour in. Under the Radar Media just named Insomnie one of its “New & Notable 2024” releases.

Right from the start, Carly dares us to face our fears and insecurities. Each song, written at the height of the pandemic, melds into the next and becomes a journey laden with questions and introspection.

Inspired by a myriad of genres, from 60’s synth pop to electronica, using a gamut of instruments, violins to electronic programming, each track oozes a juxtaposition of thoughtful abandon.

Carly sings the praises of producers James S. Smith and Michael Minkoff who were as playful as they were deliberate. “I’d have an idea, a jumping off point, but James and Michael are the sonic-creatives. Jimmy doesn’t do ‘good enough’; he lives excellence. We didn’t want to box ourselves in; so we always came back to what served the song best.”

After speaking with Carly for about an hour today, I am thrilled to share with you parts of our conversation, where we dive into a few of the tunes to discuss their deeper meanings.

From her Electronic Press Kit there’s this description: “Insomnie visits the psyche of a person seeking harmony in times of intense polarity, wading through the discomfort of division and eventually finding refuge in the idea of a broken but beautiful community.”

The opening track “Why Are You Sleeping?” she and co writer Michael Minkoff “tell the story of a person who is lost in the translation of everything; hearing different perspectives leaves this person confused by the world and afraid; they can’t think for themselves anymore.” ‘Everybody thinks they’re a saint. Everybody thinks they’re in the right. I can’t compete, can’t complain. I’m just trying to sleep at night.’

By the 4th track “Prove Me Wrong,” the energy kicks up a notch and this person is starting to confront and defend. “Why you treat me like a second class citizen? If you knew me I think you’d think I’m innocent. Try and prove me wrong. Come on and prove me wrong.”

The 5th track, “In Your Thirties” is like so many songs on this album. It starts off with tension, a dilemma: “We’re always working for money so we can buy time. But even when we get the stuff, don’t you know it’s never enough to make it last”

…and by the end, it’s a message of and for hope: “It’s alright, it’s alright, don’t stop now, it’s alright” and the track wraps with a sensational Moon Bride moment: a mouth-trumpeting jazzy-cool solo to soothe and encourage.

For me, “Nothing Good” into “Stop Wanting” is the most profound transition of back to back tracks on the album. They’re both filled with angst. The chorus in “Nothing Good”: “Why’d you have to ask me what I wanted to be? Couldn’t you just let me breathe? If getting a degree would make me happy, set me free; honey, what a luxury.”

If I had enough space to include all the lyrics to “Stop Wanting,” I would. Here’s a taste of what Moon Bride describes as “an emotional roller coaster”: “I want to be humble /I want to make lots of money /I want to be taken seriously /I want to be funny /I want to just do nothing /And be known for something /I want to stop wanting.”

The next song, “That’s Why” reminds me of a Burt Bacharach pop song and a 1930’s three quarter time movie theme song. You’ll hear compelling background voices on this one and the string bass part played by Adam Higgins is phenomenal. There’s a tender pleading like a ‘Calgon! Take me away’ moment: “Passing cars are the poor man’s ocean; reminds me of summer and suntan lotion. What I wouldn’t give to go back to that place. Hands on the wheel. Tune out the chatter. Try not to feel. Hold on for Sa-turdaaaay.”

The second to last song, “Conduits” is my favorite among these gems. Take a listen to this quiet symphony of reassurance and peace. These lyrics say it all for me personally: “So go outside and breathe the air. Don’t be scared to stop and stare. Stay a while and be a child of God. Climb a mountain or go fishing. The heart beats without your permission. We’re only here to be conduits of love.”

Insomnie Album Credits:

Music by Carly Kotula

Lyrics by Carly Kotula and Michael Minkoff (Why Are You Sleeping?)

Produced by James S. Smith and Michael Minkoff

Composition and Orchestral Arrangements by Phil Hodges

Executive Produced by Charlie Mudge and Carly Kotula

Recorded, Engineered and Mixed by James S. Smith and Michael Minkoff

at Clubmen Studio in Blairsville, GA

Photography and visual concept by Pat Kotula

CD layout and design by Carly Kotula

Mastered by Matthew Barnhart at Chicago Mastering

Additional lyric consulting by Michael Minkoff and Jo Littin

Peggy’s April Music Schedule:

Thurs April 4th – Acoustic Blues with Peggy Ratusz feat Jonathan Pearlman and Duane Simpson. River Arts District Brewing Company 6pm-8pm

Fri April 5th – Peggy Ratusz Trio feat Jonathan Pearlman and Bob Songster. Trailside Brewing, Hendersonville, 6pm-9pm

Sat April 6th – Invitational Blues Showcase feat Chris Norred and the Daddy LongLegs House Band 4pm-7pm

Thurs April 11th – Peggy Ratusz & Jonathan Pearlman, Mills River Brewing, Hendersonville 6pm-9pm

Fri April 12th – Peggy Ratusz & Jonathan Pearlman, Highland Brewing Downtown Asheville, S&W Building 2nd floor –


Sat April 13th – Peggy Ratusz & Daddy LongLegs Blues & Dance Band. The Pillar Rooftop Bar – Hilton Garden Inn, downtown Asheville 6pm-9pm

Thurs April 18th – Acoustic Blues with Kelly Jones & Peggy Ratusz featuring A.G. Hammond

Sat April 20th – Love Bubble trio featuring Peggy, Paula Hanke & Hank Bones – River Arts District RECORD STORE! 5pm

Wed April 23rd – Peggy Ratusz & Daddy LongLegs - Beloved Asheville Fundraiser. River Arts District Brewing Company, 8:30pm

Sun April 28th – Peggy Ratusz Trio feat Adam Rose & Bob Songster, Southern Appalachian Brewery, Hendersonville 4pm-6pm courtyard stage

Peggy Ratusz

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach,

song interpreter, and songwriter.

For vocal coaching email her at


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