- Nathan Yoder
Recommended Listening: Rich Ruth: Where There's Life
Just because we're beginning to see glimmers of light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, calming music still holds great importance. Zoning to synths is not always a replacement for direct action, sure, but listening to and/or composing meditative tones can do wonders when seeking an escape from anxious thoughts. Rich Ruth, a Nashville-based artist we've featured on this site before, has always seemed to understand this utilitarian property of ambient music. Many of us dove into the genre when everything fell apart in 2020, but his first full-length (an ambient gem appropriately titled Calming Signals) came out the year prior. And now he's back this Friday with his next release. Where There's Life is a collection of six varied pieces from the early months of the pandemic. The constructions are warm and optimistic, as Ruth searched for hope during those bleak days.
Where There's Life is labeled an EP, but the six extended tracks run the length of a traditional album. Because all six songs were written and recorded in isolation, separate from one another rather than in a single session or two, they each feel unique. You'll hear plenty of sax on Woman In Blonde Wig (a recognizable feature heard throughout Calming Signals), twinkling arpeggios and a reoccurring vocal sample on lead single Goldenrods, and unprocessed acoustic strumming on It's The Water. I actually got to know Ruth as a Michiana-famous psych guitarist over a decade ago, so it's pretty rad to see him return to the instrument, leaning into a more primitive sound these days.
Again, Where There's Life is out this Friday the 25th (which is looking to be another massive release day), so don't forget to check it out on the Rich Ruth Bandcamp page linked here when the time comes. In the meantime, you can listen to that aforementioned guitar track below and bask in the calm.