Canada unearths another diamond
Although several friends were, and indeed are, still huge fans of The Wailin’ Jennys, the band has somehow managed to pass me by. The first time Ruth Moody came across my radar was when she played a concert at the Jumping Hot Club in Newcastle and, even then I’d only gone to see the support act, Ruth really, really impressed me that night. I subsequently bought her album, THE GARDEN which I played to death for weeks.
I have to warn Ruth’s fans in advance that the title, THESE WILDER THINGS, is something of a misnomer as I can think of very few things that this lo-fi Roots album is actually wilder than. There is nothing new here, apart from some excellent songs and magnificent musicianship from all concerned. And that, my friends, is a very good thing.
The album opens with a divine Americana-Folk song calledTrouble and Woe which wouldn’t have been out of place on the Oh! Brother soundtrack. It is followed soon afterwards by a a very brave breathy, Bluegrass version of Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark which will have Bruce breaking out the banjo again.
Every song tells a story and Ruth’s voice is clear as crystal, as she makes singing sound effortless, especially on the haunting title track, These Wilder Things. The Australian-born singer’s voice hardly breaks the whisper barrier as an organ taps away in the background until a Colliery Brass Band joins them to close a truly beautiful song.
One Light Shining could have been a great alternative title for the album, as it does shine like a beacon on a record packed full of memorable songs. The guitar and mandolin playing throughout is sublime and compliments Ruth’s wonderful voice on one of the finest songs ever to come out of Canada.
Eventually all good things must come to an end, and THESE WILDER THINGS finishes with a delicately picked banjo and guitar as Ruth breathlessly whispering the lyrics to Nothing Without Love. That song ends with the heart rending couplet ‘If Love is Everything/You’ve Got Nothing Without Love.’ Cue tears from this big ole softy.
There you have it, another unsung genius of an Americana/Roots singer-songwriter who hails from Canada (born in Australia) – what do they put in the water up there?