This is the record Ruby Redrang fans have been waiting for.
The plucky guitarist/vocalist/songwriter leads an unorthodox trio with percussionist Michael Ennis and cellist Suki Kuehn.
The combination of Redrang’s groove-oriented guitar style and the supple rhythmic bed provided by Ennis contrasts effectively with Kuehn’s melodic, classically oriented playing.
This strategy is employed effectively right at the beginning of the record with the catchy “I’ll be Around,” and reappears on the toe-tapping “Replaceable” and the angry “Too Many Things.”
Redrang has a long association with the Music Shed and she understands production values, a talent that is lost on too many Louisiana musicians.
She enlists the great engineer Wesley Fontenot here, and he nails her sound. He recorded the instruments dry and direct and concentrated on the contours of her voice, which has a rich, full sound throughout, even when she’s singing in a near whisper, as on “Who You Are” and “Lullaby.”
Redrang can deliver vocal dynamics as well, as seen on the terrific “Red Sea,” which builds to a full throated finale.
What really comes through for me on this set are the melodies, like the gorgeous hooks on “Great Mistake” and “Without You.” Kuehn is an invaluable resource, hewing close to the framework of the songs with a rich, sonorous tone. Midway through the set he delivers the only non-Redrang composition on the set, “Sicilienne,” a pizzicato instrumental that contrasts well with his lush arco playing.