Rutherford — Mapping out Chaos
((Not on label) RR001, 2005, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01
With a constant stream of me-too independently produced new releases coming in, all demanding time to be heard and reviewed, it is indeed refreshing when one among them has something genuinely different or unique to offer the listener. The debut album by this Missouri-based quintet is such a case, capably fronted by two excellent singer-songwriters (Ruth Acuff and Jeff Mueller, both doubling on guitar and bass) operating in a roots-rock mode, fusing elements of folk, pop, and rock, with plenty of originality, hooks and riffs. Sometimes the foundation of a piece is acoustic guitar, other times a bit heavier rock drive, although it’s evident via the compositions, lyrics, singing, and harmonies, and overall presentation, that the genesis of each of the twelve cuts is the singular vision of a songwriter, with the group arrangements built around that initial concept. Acuff’s voice is very distinctive and suits her material perfectly, perhaps a bit like Buffy Sainte-Marie without all the excessive vibrato; Mueller’s voice is commanding and soulful on the three tracks where he sings lead, though on most tracks he’s harmonizing with Acuff. But it’s trumpeter Ed Watson who gives the arrangements their most unusual element; his instrument is the lead melodic foil, offering something to complement the vocals without drawing attention from them, as well as turning in a deft solo here and there. Everything here works together superbly – an outstanding debut.
Related artist(s): Rutherford
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more