Album Review :
Ruth - Secondhand Dreaming

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Artist: Ruth
Album: Secondhand Dreaming
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Review By: Julio D. Anta

1. One Foot In, One Foot Out
2. Cross The Line
3. Secondhand Dreaming
4. Here To New York
5. Mr. Turner
6. Work It Out
7. Standing Still
8. Figure You Out
9. You Are
10. Love Me Like You Do
11. Always Yours
12. Well With Soul

Year after year without fail Tooth & Nail Records quietly releases a great album with little to no advertising dollars spent. Last year it was Fair’s critically acclaimed debut The Best Worst-Case Scenario, and this year it’s shaping up to be Ruth‘s Secondhand Dreaming. Working as an acronym for Return Us To Him, Ruth is the hypothetical outcome of pain, love, and most importantly hope.

Lyrically, the most celebrated theme on this album is hope, with title track “Secondhand Dreaming” and acoustic ballad “Here To New York” leading the pack out of the hopelessness of addiction and into the glory of redemption. “Cause I am yours always forever/ Take this heart and make it clean again/ Where you lead me I will follow” is sung with perfect pitch and melodically tells the story of singer Dustin Ruth’s journey to find God in the mist of drugs, and purposelessness.

The album opens with “One Foot In, One Foot Out”. Fit with an infectiously catchy chorus “I will hold on to your words forever/ To know you, to feel you, to touch you, always/ Your all I want, your all I need” is followed by single “Cross The Line” which in my opinion would have made a better opening track because it’s echoing drum intro rather than coming out of the fence with vocals the way “One Foot In, One Foot Out” does. Putting minor mixing faults aside, all is forgiven with stand-out track “Mr. Turner”. Mixing crunchy guitars, strings, and airy drums Ruth achieves a beautiful mix of aggression and melody thats easily the climax of Secondhand Dreaming.

Instrumentally, Ruth will most likely appeal to fans of The Fray, Augustana, and even more up-tempo piano-rock outfits like Jack’s Mannequin and The Hush Sound. It’s a shame T&N isn’t promoting them the way they promote their heavier and more “marketable” bands. If promoted correctly I believe Ruth can be the next The Fray or Augustana being played on every hipster TV show and radio station. Do yourself a favor and pick up this album, you’ll be rolling down your windows singing summer songs of love and redemption before you know it.

8/ 10

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