Ruthie was heavily involved with the gospel church as she grew up in Texas. It is never out of her voice, no matter whether she is recording songs by David Hidalgo and Louie Perez of Los Lobos, June Carter and David Kilgore, Robbie Robertson, David Crosby, or her own material, it is as natural to her as taking a breath. The fact that she is recording here in the Crescent City at the famed Piety Street Studios, and with some of the cities finest musicians, as well as a few others such as the Blind Boys of Alabama and Ike Stubblefield on Hammond B-3 and piano, adds another dimension to her singing. Locals, such as the Funky Meters' rhythm section of George Porter Jr. on bass and Russell Batiste on drums, and then saxophonist extranaire, James Rivers add in Dave Easley who contributes guitars and pedal steel; all of these and then some more contribute to the disc. The fire and intensity with which she sings rises to the surface as she takes the song, and if she feels it remakes it as her own, as in Ring of Fire, which is forever associated with Johnny Cash,or keeps the song close to the original, as in David Crosby's ominous and threatening Long Time Gone.
This disc is an expansion and without leaving her roots in the locker she takes her palate and expands it exponentially, taking tremendous artistic leaps that show she is an artist that isn't afraid to take chances. She grabs the bull by the horns and runs with it; she displays what she can do with it. The New Orleans musicians load the tracks with that funky groove that seems to permeate even the air of this city and then when you add the additional guests for even more ummmph; and this disc lives up to all the expectations that one would associate with a line-up like this. There is no let up in the intensity of the music through the whole disc no matter the twists and turns the music takes. Give a listen to the contortions she gives to the Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes classic of protest songs, If I Had A Hammer, and you didn't have any idea it could pack this hard of a punch. This disc that shows the enormous growth this singer has made and bodes very well for those of the future. A true coming together of talent that goes greater than the parts.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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