By Bill Robertson
Rating 5 out of 5
There will likely be songs written in Canada this year that are as good as the title track from Ruth Moody’s These Wilder Things, but there will be none better.
To a piano accompaniment, Moody sings quietly but forcefully of the power of love and the fear humans will marshal against it. “Well I have this pain deep in my heart,” she sings, “That’s why I sing, that’s why I sing.” And out of that mixture of pain and redemption she begins to let go her grip on fear: “And letting go is the hardest part/When holding on has been everything.”
Indeed, a number of times on this excellent album that Moody crowds with helping musicians but still carries much of herself, she talks of letting go: Letting go of a lover, of an attitude, of a fear.
The obviously titled Make a Change, with its delicate vocal and piano, makes this point, as does the optimism of One Light Shining, with its bluegrass feel and its look-ahead spirit.
Yes, though she opens with the stark Protestant bluegrass tradition of Trouble and Woe, she moves on, re-imagining Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark – its mandolin is fabulous – and singing of loving, but leaving, in the lovely Trees for Skies.
A stellar solo album about letting go from this Wailin’ Jenny.