Ruth Moody - These Wilder Things
As the second Wailin’ Jenny to release a solo album this year, Ruth Moody is in good company. But unlike Annabelle Chvostek she hasn’t left the band; this is just one of her regular solo sojourns. These Wilder Things is Moody’s solo follow-up to The Garden, her well received 2010 album. In between the two she’s made a Wailin’ Jennys record and become friends with Mark Knopfler, who contributes his strumming skills to a track here. With over a decade of experience and with awards for both her work with The Jennys and her solo material, she undoubtedly has a platform upon which to build her reputation in the UK. The album gets off to an excellent start with a triple whammy of great tunes: the country hoe-down of ‘Trouble And Woe’ and the electrified ‘One And Only’ are catchy up-tempo tracks, before a quite brilliant cover of Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’. Stripped back and quiet, it's a real triumph of restraint and crescendo - in just the right amounts. After this it all gets very intimate, with the longing of ‘These Wilder Things’ and soft folk of ‘Trees for Skies’, before the distinctive guitar and voice of Knopfler bring depth to ‘Pockets’. There’s a wonderful tone to Moody’s voice on ‘One Shining Light’, and the celtic-themed ‘Life Is Long’. It doesn’t give enough credit to the complex and brilliant musicianship on show here, but there’s a wonderful simplicity to These Wilder Things that contributes to some beautiful tracks and which lets Moody’s voice carry through.