Jenny Ritter. Raised By Wolves. Fiddle Head Records

Review by Rudie Humphrey

This banjo driven pedal steel fest is one for true music fans, its production quality, especially of the uncomplicated drums, is a class apart. If this was Jenny Lewis the press would be gushing and fawning, Jenny Ritter does it better. Her sharp high voice means you sail away, lofted up high to some other, better place, soaring over the world below.

Wolf Wife, which gives us the album title, is full of sawing fiddles and throughout its construction is a marvel, let alone the turns themselves. It has a tide-like rhythm, an ebb and flow, pedal steel to banjo to fiddle and return, all in harmony, perfectly attuned. It has lots of subtle, occasional harmony vocal lines, the voice is haunting, a siren, she opens her mouth and the next you know you’re prostrate, dashed on the rocks, hypnotised.

Slide Mountain is proof, if it were needed, of the power of the instrumental, it’s the music of the woods, of the outdoors, chilly, and music of a cold place but a warm soul, and it is time to mitten up. It’s a tune that gives you that feeling of seeing mountains for the first time in a long time, a stark reminder of how beautiful they can be, a jolt to your reality; we get some mediocrity and vanilla, occasionally you get something special, this is the flake in the 99, and probably the strawberry sauce too.

Remember the Life is otherworldly, like a voice calling you from inside a dream. It seems like looking through dust in sunlight to see its own very magical sparkle. This is an album for when it is cold outside and you’re warm inside, it’s an album that makes everything seem just that bit more special.

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