(02 August 2009) Ruth Dolores Weiss, is the fourth Israeli artist brought to Musical Discoveries by the Anova Music label from Tel Aviv, Israel. Readers will recall our review of Eatliz and review of Noa Babayof about one year ago and the interview with their lead singer Lee Triffon. We also discovered the fantastic Beatlesque sounds of Rockfour on the Anova Music label.
Ruth returned to Israel via Austin, Texas after releasing a debut album there in English entitled Come See (Raw Versions) (2003), an acclaimed collection of jazz standards and blues that drew worldwide acclaim. Her new offering is sung entirely in Hebrew and is aptly entitled Be'Ivrit (In Hebrew) (Anova (Israel) AN009, 2009). The album is comprised of twelve bluesy tracks that clearly demonstrate the range and depth of this stunning songwriter. Online video reveals the artist's tremendous live performances.
There was a long time between Ruth's debut album and her all-Hebrew album. The album has already been well received by both media and fans, receiving all around five star reviews and appearing on many year's-best lists. Ruth did a short tour of Israel in support of the the album, selling out all of her shows, in cases, weeks in advance.
The new album is primarily written and composed by Ruth, played atop either a gentle or quite percussive piano, with and without standup bass. It includes a cover to a popular Israeli folk song, combining her passion for the dark side of Tom Waits, and Nick Cave, with her amazing abilities as a tough pianist (a-la Diamanda Galls) who dilvers her songs in a jazz-blues sytle, similar to Karen Dalton and Billy Holiday. The passion for her music rings true in almost every note. An upright bass is used effectively in spots to accompany Ruth's evocative voice.
Listeners say the same blues atmosphere that characterized Ruth's debut album is present here as well. Recordings of Ruth's live shows circulate on the internet and equally reveal a bluesy evocative flavor. The new album is said to have an added shade of desert, hot and ripe. The album was arranged and produced by Ruth together with Yehu Yaron and Ofir Vander, who also play the double bass and keyboard parts respectively on this album.
While the album is likely to have standouts for different listeners, we most enjoyed the upbeat and robustly arranged "Kaitz." Ruth's intensity builds into a lovely melody in the latter sections of "Shir Ahava." The gentle intonations of "Shir Tikva are sensually delivered with crystalline clarity across three distinct tempo changes.
An all Hebrew singer songwriter album is certain draw interest from two types of enthusiasts outside Israel. Certainly those that understand Hebrew, even the small bits some learned for bar or bat matvitzvah will find resonance with the material as sung.
Keen female vocalist lovers will equally find this an alluring album although the lyrical messages will be more difficult for them to decipher!