Hurricane Ruth lays all her cards on the table
Hurricane Ruth – Ain’t Ready For The Grave- Galaxy
Hurricane Ruth earned her name because no-one believed that such a large sound could come out of such a small package. She grew up in The Glendale tavern, her daddy owned in Beardstown, Illinois, which is on the route between Chicago and St. Louis. This confluence of middle American brought players in from all directions who filled the club with jazz, blues and country music that fed Ruth’s imagination, and shaped who she is today; a vocalist deeply rooted in traditional blues, but make no mistake, one who can rock the house.
For her fourth album, Ain’t Ready For The Grave, Ruth lays all her cards on the table. “The main thesis behind it; I understand I’m not a twenty something of even a forty something trying for a career. But I have so much to give. I am not ready for the grave.” Ruth enlisted mega hit-man producer, songwriter and drumming master Tom Hambridge to work his special magic on twelve tracks, recorded in Nashville with a group of A list players including; Reese Wynans (Stevie Ray Vaughn) on Keys, Michael Rhodes on Bass (Joe Bonamassa), guitarists Pat Buchanan (Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney) and Rob McNelley (Delbert McClinton), who all had to work hard to keep up with Ruth’s fire. The album kicks off with the good time blues “Barrelhouse Joe’s “setting the scene of Friday night at juke joint just like her old man’s place. Ruth then lays out her modus operandi as self-described “Hard Rockin’ Women,” with gritty vocals over a driving four on the floor house rockin’ blues. The album title comes from a line in the low-down blues “Far from the Cradle,’ with Ruth delivering testimony to her musical mission. Ruth chastises a young woman for messing with a married man on the smoking hot” Estilene.’ Hambridge lays down a fat boogaloo beat for the playful dance track “Beekeeper,” and Wynans tickles the ivories ramping up the drama of the classic slow blues “My Heart Aches For You.” An ice pickin’ groove and razor sharp vocals are featured on the tight track “Cheating Blues.” The crew then goes for broke, taking on AC/DC classic “Whole Lotta Rossie,” delivering it with fury and southern rock sizzle. Some blistering slide guitar and swampy drums punctuate the provocative “For A Change,” and the double shuffle “Let Me Be The One,’ feels like one of the top ten hits Hambridge wrote for Susan Tedeschi. The legendary McCrary Sisters join Ruth for the saucy soul rocker “Good Stuff,” and the album’s gospel encore “Yes I Know,” adding pure joy to the Sunday go to meeting revival.
Ruth sums up the axiom of her career saying, “I’ve been one of the lucky ones to get a second chance at what I want to do, not only is it my passion, it is who I am.” Ain’t Ready For the Grave is a testament to the passion, tenacity and power that is Hurricane Ruth.
Rick J Bowen