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|I Am Skooter|
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
I waited a long time for a Ruth Moody gig to come to Vancouver. A couple of weeks ago I actually drove right past Grafton, Ontario while she was playing at the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, but just couldn’t stop. It was totally worth it. My review is up at No Depression or you can follow the link at the bottom of the entry. There’s also a too shaky video of her Dancing in Dark that I couldn’t resist posting…despite the shakiness.
“What’s the difference between an in tune banjo and a Higgs Boson Particle?” joked the band late in the show while waiting for Ruth Moody to tune—again. The question was answered by a solid round of laughter from the audience who were more than happy to wait for Moody to search for the impossible dream of an in tune instrument after a long night of very fine music. A friend summed the evening’s show up in a concise review: “Sings swell.” If you’d like a bit more detail read on. (I can’t argue with the assessment, but I think it sells Moody a little short.)
Moody’s second solo disc These Wilder Things is a fine album destined to land on year end favourites lists but despite being released in April (and several nearby shows) this marked her first appearance in Vancouver. It was an eager near capacity crowd that greeted Moody and band as they took the stage at St. James Hall—one of Vancouver’s most beautiful venues both aesthetically and acoustically.
It was a good choice of venue for the singer. Moody’s voice is easily one of the most beautiful you’ll ever hear live, and the warmth of the room and a receptive audience made it shine brightly on this night. The singer wore a smile on her face for the entire show, and had the kind of fun light hearted stage presence that you can’t help but enjoy. “Are there any Townes van Zandt fans out there,” she said while introducing Travellin’ Shoes. Resounding applause was the response. “This isn’t a Townes van Zandt song,” she joked, “But I did write it when I was listening to Townes on a bit of a binge…which I don’t recommend.”
In a two hour set that included music from both of her solo albums as well as Wailin’ Jennies songs highlights included a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark that closed the first set and a second set audience sing along of Life is Long, with its refrain of “Life is long love / Life is long / We have time love / We have time” filling the venue with the sound of a beautiful choir. Moody moved seamlessly from banjo to guitar to piano throughout showing the talent a true multi-instrumentalist.
At least one audience member probably disagrees with those highlight moments: the show’s encore started with Moody leading the audience in a Happy Birthday sing along for Bob. We should all be so lucky.
Moody’s two hour set delivered on the long wait for a Vancouver show: an engaging stage presence, gorgeous voice, beautifully written material, a great backing band and a beautiful venue added to a near perfect night of live music. You can’t really ask for more than that, can you?