Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Artist Profile: Elin Ruth

Elin Ruth (AKA Elin Sigvardsson) is a Swedish singer-songwriter.  She grew up surrounded by American folk music, and the influences of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, etc are all apparent in her own material.  Over the mid-2000s Elin become a household name in Sweden through constant touring of Europe and a series of highly praised albums.  Her debut release Saturday Light Naive earned her a Swedish Grammy nomination in 2003 for Best New Artist.  She relocated to Queens, New York in 2010, and is currently introducing herself to the US by releasing her first ever LP in America, self-titled Elin Ruth.  

She recently made a ten song "sampler" of her material available for free download via NoiseTrade.  The sampler consists of all four songs from her Bang EP, as well as about half of the new songs from her upcoming album and two highlights from her previous discography.

Most of Ruth's material is rooted in radiant, soulful gospel that could have come right out of Otis Redding's playbook, with celebratory background vocals complimenting Elin's smoky voice.  The beauty of her music though is her incorporation of all kinds of inspirations.  Whether it is country, pop, or soul, she is definitely in love with American music.  Love, with it's warm, thumping chorus and flowing vocals is incredibly reminiscent of Sheryl Crow.  Other songs have a bluegrass thump that would not be out of place on Led Zeppelin III.  A few songs from her new album have the bounce and quirky sparkle of Regina Spektor, and others have a Jason Mraz-esque reggae groove.  What is impressive is the way all of these elements are integrated together to create a new spin on the singer-songwriter sound that is all her own. 

The major influence on Elin Ruth though as far as her overall approach and delivery goes, is alt-country legend Neko Case.  The reason it works so well for her is because she definitely has the voice to pull it off.  She displays her poetic, narrative lyrics with a calm, soothing, and overall beautiful voice, yet has the ability to get down and edgy when the songs call for it.  The musical accompaniment is minimal and purely complimentary, mixed in a light and spacious manner to showcase the vocal tracks layered over the top.  Of course just when you feel this method growing tired she throws a curve ball, as songs like Hymn About a Tree and the dreamy, sprawling Little Man transition into noisy atmospheric bridge sections that are almost reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine with swirling synths and piano as her breathy vocals fade into the background.

Overall this is just very passionate, positive music that is purely heartfelt and authentic.  It radiates light and love and a message of longing, forgiveness, and hope.  

1 comment:

  1. Comment from Elin via facebook:

    "That's really nice Matt, thank you so much! I appriciate it! And yes, I'd love to come to Minneapolis and play sometime. Hopefully I will!"


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