Kelly Ruth, Nashville artist by way of Philly, creates textural music with layers upon more layers in a single song. “Blue-eyed Lover” which comes off her 2011 release, Hang Onto the Good, rests in the melodic end of the spectrum. The song continually stays rhythmic throughout its entirety. It has a Nashville-esque underlying tone which can be heard before discovering that’s where Ruth currently resides. At points throughout the song, the layers pile on to create a grander sound. Vocals on instruments on more vocals and on more instruments gradually build up the tension of the song. At this point, Ruth’s voice is but a faint hum in the background singing about moving on from a past love. Its upbeat demeanor underplays the despairing subject matter of the song, making for a sweet contradiction.
On a different note, “Beekeeper” takes on a more haunting approach. Listening to the first two minutes made me feel like I was in the Skeleton Key! Like I was on a plantation about to die. Then after the two minute mark, those feelings almost completely vanish as a musical breakdown takes over with “ahhs” that seem to never end. But they do end, and when they do, the haunting picks up where it left off. Despite the terror that this song is causing me, Kelly Ruth’s vocals are airy and captivating. Her voice is so light and soft all throughout the song. “Like bees to the queen/like tea to honey/I want someone to love” she sings ever so delicately.
Walden, the solo project from producer Ethan Samuel Brown, starts off on a great start as “All We Really Are” does not make me feel like I’m on a plantation about to die from a maniacal caretaker. (I’m going to have nightmares now. I just know it) Listening to the instrumentation alone on “All We Really Are,” off of Walden’s Owls & Orchids, you can’t help but be impressed. It’s commendable and done so incredibly well. Add Walden’s whisper rock vocals on stop of that with an almost fading sound and you get a wonderful track. If I had just waited an hour for my food at a restaurant and then “All We Really Are” came over the speakers, I would stop everything I was doing and give it my full attention. I can only imagine how this would sound in a live setting. Go to 3:28 to be blown away. Kelly Ruth and Walden’s sound go so well together. Both with very soft vocals on top of true musical ability, these are the ingredients to a great show.
Be sure to check out their merch at their shows! They’ll be selling a live CD of brand new songs, along with hand-made posters and hand-stitched CD sleeves.
08/14/12 Bristol Grindhouse, Bristol, VA
08/15/12 Rivermont Pizza, Lynchburg, VA
08/16/12 DC9, Washington DC
08/17/12 JoeSquared, Baltimore, MD
08/18/12 Midtown Scholar, Harrisburg, PA
08/19/12 House Show, Elizabethtown, PA
08/21/12 Spike Hill, Brooklyn, NY
08/25/12 The Station, Philadelphia, PA
08/27/12 The Hey Hey, Columbua OH
08/31/12 House Show, Cincinnati, OH
08/29/12 Haymarket Whiskey Bar, Louisville, KY
09/01/12 Natascha’s Bistro & Bar, Lexington, KY