This is another of our ‘Introducing…’ posts which may seem questionable to some, after all Ruth Moody has been releasing music since 1997 (when she was a member of the delightfully titled group Scruj MacDuhk!) and released her debut solo EP ‘Blue Muse’ back in 2002. However, to many mainstream Country fans, such as myself, the work of Australian-born Moody who grew up in Canada is not as widely recognised as it deserves to be. Embraced by the folk music community Moody’s music possesses all of the charms that one would expect from that genre, it too has bluegrass flavours which one would expect as the singer-songwriter is also a member of successful trio The Wailin’ Jennys, who have achieved notable success on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts.
In 2010 Moody released her début full solo album ‘The Garden’ which was a critical triumph, with praise being heaped upon the record for Ruth’s gorgeous vocals, strong song-writing and impressive musicianship (a multi-instrumentalist including guitar, piano, accordion and banjo). Amongst its’ numerous plaudits ‘The Garden’ was nominated for 2 Juno Awards and 3 Canadian Folk Music Awards. 2013 saw the release of follow-up album ‘These Wilder Things’ which garnered similar praise and is a collection of songs which sees Moody making a visit the UK in January 2015 to support.
Listening to ‘These Wilder Things’ is an absolute revelation for those previously unfamiliar with Ruth Moody and her music, an utterly gorgeous collection of tracks which find the artist exploring a number of styles. Opening track ‘Trouble And Woe‘ may feature sombre lyrics but set to a spirited bluegrass rhythm is a delightful example of Moody’s prowess in that genre. Similarly, the gentler paced but uplifting ‘One Light Shining’ leans heavily on the Appalachian sound, featuring stirring dobro playing. A fuller, more mainstream sound makes an appearance on the midtempo ‘One And Only’, with its’ mesmerising slide guitar solo, organ fills and buoyant background vocals. Hypnotic album closer ‘Nothing Without Love’ has a glorious retro traditional Country feel to it, whilst Moody’s exquisite vocals on ‘Life Is Long’ are paired with a sweeping Celtic instrumental.
The folk balladry on the album provides undoubtedly the highest of its’ highlights, piano-led ‘Make A Change’ and its’ reflections on the struggles of moving on, stands tall as one of the finest tracks on offer. An enchanting vocal performance from Moody and beautiful simplicity to the song’s poignant lyrics make it a compelling listen. Title track ‘These Wilder Things’ is a comparable gem, tackling similar subject matter but with added heartbreak and less understanding. On a track that feels like a lullaby recounting a true story handed down through generations, the singer manages a rare feat in today’s world of countless distractions and compels you to listen with that achingly beautiful voice.
One track that nearly all will be familiar with is ‘Dancing In The Dark‘, but will never have heard it quite like the Ruth Moody interpretation. The Bruce Springsteen written song, which was one of the biggest hits of his career when released back in 1984, sounds refreshed and an entirely new proposition set to a stripped-down acoustic backing. Featuring some of the most joyful picking on the album, particularly on the hugely enjoyable outro, and a fabulously peppy performance from Moody, it is a must-hear track.
Ruth Moody and her band (Adam Dobres, Adrian Dolan & Sam Howard) visit the UK in January for a number of shows, including two Celtic Connections shows.
- Weds 14th Jan – Manchester, Carousel Session @ Chorlton Irish Club
- Thurs 15th Jan – Newcastle, Jumping Host Club @ The Live Theatre
- Fri 16th Jan – Kirton-in-Lindsey, Town Hall Live
- Sat 17th Jan – Glasgow, Celtic Connections
- Sun 18th Jan – Glasgow, Celtic Connections
- Tues 20th Jan – London, The Old Queen’s Head (Angel)