Taking some time out from her regular gig as a member of the Wailin’ Jennies Ruth Moody releases her second solo album just in time to promote her UK tour which includes a six night stint at the Royal Albert Hall as a special guest of Mark Knopfler. Knopfler appears on These Wilder Things along with Jerry Douglas and our very own John McCusker along with Mancunian whistle player Michael McGoldrick. A little less folky in its overall sound than its predecessor, The Garden, These Wilder Things showcases Moody’s wonderful voice and there are some excellent moments such as on One Light Shining which features Douglas on Dobro along with Aoife O’Donovan on harmony vocals. The Celtic tint on Life is Long adds an air of mystery and mists to a song written by Moody but which sounds as if it’s been sung in bothies over the centuries while Trouble and Woe which opens the album is a rousing skirmish with banjos and fiddles flying about. While the remainder of the album fails to reach these heights there is plenty to enjoy with the title song featuring a mournful brass band while Knopfler’s guitar adds some laid back twang to the song Pockets.
Aside from the starry guest list David Travers-Smith (who produced), Adam Dobres and Adrian Dolan provide some excellent picking and playing throughout while the closing song, the plaintive and restrained Nothing Without Love pares the backing down to ukulele and piano allowing Moody’s voice to shine. There is one fly in the ointment, a cover of Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark. Although it’s given a credible run-through the jaunty mixture of the regular acoustic instruments with a cello seems somewhat misguided and its very familiarity causes it to stick out like a sore thumb here. Perhaps one that would have been best kept as a live audience pleaser.
Speaking of which Moody is currently touring the UK. Dates are here and she plays Glasgow on Friday 24th May at the CCA.