Seductive folk. These words might never have been put beside each other to describe a song if Ruth Moody didn’t write Cold Outside, just one of many outstanding tracks on her new solo album. This Wailin’ Jenny moves effortlessly between the softly plucked banjo, singing just above a whisper, and the full-on Nashville-style electric chorus. Her voice is an exercise in understatement; occasionally she allows it to soar, but never does she lose control. The subdued nature of her dreamy melodies forces the listener to listen closely, at which point they will be treated to an array of subtleties. On the song With or Without You Moody finds an amazing melancholy tone that combines the intensity of Thom Yorke and the soft smokiness of Norah Jones. The Garden isn’t flashy or innovative, but its richness demands that it be taken seriously.
Published in Volume 65, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 7, 2010)