Elin Ruth

Elin Ruth

Divers Avenue Music, 2013


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A Swedish songwriter with an interest in gospel, bluegrass and folk music, Elin Ruth has released her first American release with this self-titled disc, although she’s already five albums deep back in her home country and was a Swedish celebrity with a #1 album and two Swedish Grammy nominations. Now a resident of the States, it's been nearly a starting over process for the veteran songstress. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Ruth's voice has that subtle, smoky feel that draws you in immediately. Occasionally she'll get raspy, though for the most part her singing is smooth and sultry. Musically, this is a breezy pop listen with a wide range of influences from country to gospel to folk to soul. Admittedly her most personal work to date, the newly married Ruth has dealt with much positive change while adapting to a new country, which has forced her to reevaluate her work.

"Bang" starts things off with a Motown feeling, the horns backing a pop-folk template with some gospel feelings. This sort of upbeat folksy mood is Ruth's strength, and tracks like “Your Love Is Loaded” and "Dead Man Walking" follow suit; the former places emphasis on finger picking and banjos, while the latter is full of acoustic strumming and a xylophone.

Ruth's songwriting has a warm, often rustic feel that draws comparisons to Rilo Kiley, but also veers off into nearly twang territory, as exemplified in the country-ish "Wait For Me." Other songs, like "Higher (Super Mom)," wouldn't be out of place being sung at Sunday Mass. Ruth also often gets playful, with "Love" being an upbeat, nearly campfire spirited track. She also takes company with some voices from her home country. The always-fantastic Ane Brun contributes vocals to the twinkling, soft gem "F Off," a tune that sounds remarkably gentle considering the title.

Though she pretty much has to build her fan base in the States from scratch, it really shouldn't take long with this heartfelt, creative, and elegant disc. Imagine a less dark Cat Power or a more uplifting Jenny Lewis and you have some idea of what Elin Ruth is capable of.

Rating: B+

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