Ruth Purves Smith & the 581- Out in the Storm   Leave a comment

In my Red Deer Advocate column today (originally published March 5, 2010) I feature several coming roots shows and a review of Ruth Purves Smith’s very impressive new album Out in the Storm.

Ruth Purves Smith & the 581

Out in the Storm



From Three Hills comes the debut album of Ruth Purves Smith & the 581.


Spectacular doesn’t begin to describe the craftsmanship and talent this 13-track disc reveals. It is that rare album that divulges greater richness and depth each listening.


To describe Out in the Storm as a country album isn’t inaccurate, but it is limiting. Closer in tone, mood, and sound to Lucinda Williams and Kimmie Rhodes than it is to any glossy CMT version of country, Ruth Purves Smith has produced an intense platter of Canadiana roots music.


Purves Smith’s voice reminds one of Williams with similar flexibility and personality. Her backing band consists of veterans of the Alberta music scene and their contributions cannot be overstated. Jim Kukko’s lead guitar is as important to Purves Smith as Gurf Morlix’s was to Williams’ breakthrough Car Wheel on a Gravel Road.


Each song is a little different from the others and Purves Smith’s vocal dynamic is such that she inhabits each song with a diverse voice. Short stories emerge as songs develop, whether the family that doesn’t quite fit (Ride Around) or the abandoned lover of Out in the Storm (Part 1). Elsewhere, the lyrics leave more to the imagination, as with the sultry, poetic straggler of Just a Thought or the wondering wanderer of Out in the Storm (Part II).


Godzilla is a standout song with an undefined darkness haunting the song, and it is here that Purves Smith finds her strongest voice. Singing “Walking on broken glass again,” she communicates foreboding tension.


Ruth Purves Smith is not a new voice within the Alberta roots community, but many of us are discovering her for the first time. In Out in the Storm she has created a masterful album.


Missing this week is my Also in rotationthis week List: Carrie Newcomer- Before &After; Various Artists- East Nashville: Volume 3; The Coal Porters- Durango; Jenny Whiteley- Forgive or Forget; Split Lip Rayfield- I’ll Be Around


Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald


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