Canadian Ruth Moody’s impressive album These Wilder Things features a guest appearance from Mark Knopfler and a bluegrass cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark
Ruth Moody has built on the solid basis of her first solo album, The Garden, to produce a fine follow-up called These Wilder Things.
Moody’s voice is clear and deceptively wistful, capable of conveying powerful and dark emotions. The best example of this is on These Wilder Things. Perhaps the Juno award-winning songwriter took to heart the advice in A Morning Offering, by the late Irish poet John O’Donohue – from which she takes the stirring line ‘and I will waste my heart on fear no more’ – because this is a creatively confident album, right from the enjoyably snappy opening track Trouble And Woe.
The album is produced by David Travers-Smith and features an array of talented musicians. Her Wailin’ Jennys colleagues, Nicky Mehta and Heather Masse, join her on One And Only, while Mark Knopfler, with whom Canadian-based Moody toured the UK recently, provides his usual classy guitar work on the lovely song Pockets.
Jerry Douglas, Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker and Aoife O’Donovan also take guest spots and Moody’s band – Adam Dobres, Adrian Dolan and Sam Howard – are strong throughout. There’s also a neat linocut album sleeve illustration by Mike Costello that looks, appropriately, like a page from the children’s classic Where The Wild Things Are.
One of the 10 songs is a cover, a memorable bluegrass version of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark (with fine mandolin from Jacob Jolliff), which allows Moody to bring out the dark and unsettling nature of the lyrics.