Ruth Moody. The Garden

Another artist who’s appearing at Celtic Connections (2nd and 5th Feb as part of the Transatlantic Sessions shows at the Royal Concert Hall) Moody is probably best known as a member of the renowned Wailin’ Jennies. Here she steps out on her own with a debut solo (originally released Stateside in 2010 but now on sale here) that’s captivating in its wispy, almost ethereal tones. While not departing too far from the Jennies’ sound she has backing from Crooked Still among others who add a little bit of a rock bite to the mix, perhaps best experienced on Travellin’ Shoes, a superb creeper of a song that has scintillating guitar spreading throughout it. However the majority of the songs here are gossamer thin with Moody’s pure voice hovering over the delicate backings. Cold Outside has something of a Daniel Lanois quality to it while We Can Only Listen pairs her with Matt Peters on a duet that trots along with a fine banjo led propulsion. Her Wailin’ band mates, Heather Masse and Nicky Mehta do appear with backing vocals on a few songs with all three joining in on the last song, Closer Now. The highlight is the opening and title song where fiddle and banjo ripple like the wind on a song that celebrates nature and according to Moody is influenced by Voltaire’s Candide, a work that equates the garden as a Paradise. Fair enough as this album is a miniature paradise in itself. If you like the Wailin’ Jennies then you will like this, if not (and why not) it’s well worth digging into.

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