Ruth Moody is a member of the Canadian roots trio The Wailin’ Jennys. She has won two prestigious Juno awards, and The Wilder Things is her second solo album. She plays guitar, piano, ukulele and banjo and is joined by such luminaries as Mark Knopfler, John McCusker, Mike McGoldrick, Jerry Douglas and Aoife O’Donovan.
This latest outing, which includes nine originals, begins with “Trouble and Woe,” establishing a deep Appalachian mood with Ruth’s banjo and Adrian Dolan’s fiddle. That mood shifts abruptly with “One and Only,” a more pop oriented piece, but no less appealing. It’s followed by the CD’s real surprise: Bruce Springsteen’s classic “Dancing in the Dark” – the only song not written by Ruth – featuring pizzacato muted strings in the intro, evolving into a lush string quartet augmented by rich brass. Ruth makes this song very much her very own. The title track is introduced by a simple piano accompaniment and synth swells. An antiphonal brass choir is added in between the first and second verses … a lovely ballad beautifully arranged by Ruth and producer David Travers-Smith.
Mark Knopfler makes an appearance on “Pockets.” He supplies his distinctive electric guitar and backing vocals to this tune which could easily be mistaken for a track from one of his solo recordings. John McCusker and Mike McGoldrick add a Celtic flavor to “Life is Long.” And Aoife O’Donovan’s vocals and Jerry Douglas’ Dobro are a welcome addition to “One Light Shining” a song about the avoidance of conflict.
These Wilder Things displays the varied talents of Ruth Moody beyond the confines of The Wailin’ Jennys. She is a gifted songwriter and singer adept at many different styles.