Review: Georgia Ruth

Singer and harpist Georgia Ruth has created something truly unique with In Luna; an EP which creeps up on you, its delicacy and intricate melodies growing and swelling with every listen.

Georgia, who comes from west Wales, has been impressing for some time now, performing at Glastonbury, Greenman Festival and our very own SWN. For In Luna, she decamped to Snowdonia’s Bryn Derwen Studios with producer David Wrench, whose past collaborations include Beth Orton, Ian McCulloch and Bat for Lashes amongst many others.

The strains of opening track ‘Through Your Hands’ immediately invoke an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, it’s folk and blues influence sweeping throughout. Georgia’s soaring and falling vocals, paired with her formation of melody, immediately bring to mind Joni Mitchell. You get the impression this echoing of Canada’s finest export isn’t unintentional, with Georgia citing both Van Morisson’s Astral Weeks and Tim Buckley’s Once I Was as inspiration during the recording of In Luna.

But that’s not to say Georgia isn’t at home among her contemporaries. In the past few months alone, both Jodie Marie and Lucy Rose have tread similar paths with equal success. Georgia’s version of old Appalachian song Old Blue was chosen by Bethan Elfyn as MP Free of the Day on the 6 Music Morning Show and she has garnered praise from BBC Wales stalwart Adam Walton, who has described the 23 year-old as a “prodigious talent.”

Fundamentally In Luna is a tale of love and loss, told through a collection which is restrained but at times wonderfully cutting. Underpinning her complex and beautifully crafted lyrics is the ever present harp, which is accompanied by Y Niwl’s Pete Richardson on drums and Pete Walton on double bass. Georgia’s obvious ability sets her apart as an artist with something extra to offer in an increasingly crowded folk scene, adding another (pardon the pun) string to her bow.

The bittersweet ‘Lines’ perfectly complements the more mournful ‘Bones’, whose catchy refrain will almost certainly find it incessant radio play. Both songs tell a stories of regret and need, but couldn’t be more different in their outlook. The latter’s use of piano leads us on a meandering, Americana-tinged swoon, Georgia’s pleading vocal telling the story of someone desperate to feel anything, even if that something is pain.

On Anna, Georgia contructs another perfectly formed narrative, painting a mundanely melancholic picture of crashing waves and mediocre cups of coffee. Her sharp and clear voice is a perfect vehicle for songs of long lost sweethearts; it would be wasted on anything less.

Announcing more tour dates in coming weeks, Georgia will be bringing her harp to Clwb Ifor Bach on March 16, performing with the Huws brothers of Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog.

Currently available on Georgia’s Soundcloud, In Luna is available through Gwymon Records on limited 10” vinyl from 20 February 2012. With stablemates which include the 2010-2011 Welsh Music Prize nominee Lleuwen and the Gentle Good, it would be naive not to expect big things from Georgia Ruth in 2012.