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Reviews: Melissa Ruth ~ Underwater & Other Places|
Posted on Sunday, September 07, 2008 @ 15:58:57 UTC
Artist: Melissa Ruth
CD: Underwater & Other Places
Home: British Columbia, Canada
Quote: "Shows that this classically trained musician has the skills and creativity to join the ranks of superb folks artists."
By Nancy Dunham
When you think of the folk singers of the 60s and 70s, it's amazing to recall how casually their natural, comfortable songs so easily told the tales of so many lives. Tom Rush’s "Driving Wheel," Joan Baez’s "Diamonds & Rust," and Sandy Denny’s "It Suits Me Well," come immediately to mind as deceptively simple songs that are musically brilliant. Melissa Ruth’s latest album Underwater & Other Places, shows that this classically trained musician has the skills and creativity to join the ranks of superb folk artists.
Ruth never overplays her musical hand. The stories she tells in her songs are pure and natural as is her music and vocals. Ruth knows a good story doesn’t need a lot of slick production and elaborate instrumentation to shine; the song can stand on its own merits.
Consider "Fate or Circumstance." In telling stories of the downtrodden and corporate chains that bind many, Ruth could easily have turned this into another ho-hum liberal cry. The problem with some of those tunes of course is that they seem less about concern over a wrong and more about an artist's "message" sometimes seeming almost like parodies.
Ruth never takes that road. Instead her complex stories are told through simple guitar work and stark vocals that offer commentary – powerful to be sure – but not righteous indignation.
That’s not to say that Ruth’s music is simplistic. Far from it. "Honey From the Hive" which hints of blues and a touch of R&B, and "Sooner Break Than Bend," which showcases intricate guitar work and subtle percussion, highlight Ruth’s considerable range and creativity.
Let’s hope Ruth, who can clearly fill the void left by so many great folkies, breaks out of the pack. Her music deserves to be heard.
Artist Website: http://www.melissaruthmusic.com
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