Courtesy of Tooth and Nail
Ruth, named for the band’s lead singer Dustin Ruth, is a powerful Washington-based quartet whose message-driven lyrics, although religious by nature, easily relate to a much broader audience. On the band’s 2007 debut, Secondhand Dreaming, Ruth contemplates life and its emotional intricacies with upbeat, inspiring lyrics and a layered sound that employs instruments ranging from keyboards and acoustic guitars to violins and harmonicas.
The dreamy part-ballad, part-anthem “Mr. Turner” perfectly embodies the band’s lyrical and instrumental complexity. The song begins with soothing vocals and a timely theme as Dustin Ruth quietly sings, “There is something inside of us all / That’s wondering where we’re gonna go / When all the lights are turned down low / Lately the news is weighing me down.” This nearly a cappella intro quickly gives way to a guitar-driven chorus woven with violin that drives the rest of the song.
“Back to the Five,” from the band’s sophomore effort Anorak, which will be released later this month, follows in the falsetto footsteps of “Mr. Turner.” The song showcases Dustin Ruth’s vocals with emotive lyrics like, “I’m headed home / I’m just trying to find my way back to the five / Got a lot on my mind / I’m gonna figure it out.” Like Ruth’s earlier songs, “Back to the Five” relies on a layered sound that eloquently blends rock, folk and pop that creates a fitting background for the band’s message.
Ruth doesn’t have much to say about sex, chocolate or baseball, but you might find that the meaning of life can be just as interesting.
—By Asst Entertainment Editor Franchesca Winters