4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
First Album, Classic Album, 2 July 2013
It is very easy to respond with instant enthusiasm to an album and be tired with it in a few days or weeks. I've been listening to Week of Pines for some while now and I find more and more in it with each hearing. Georgia Ruth's roots are in the small world of Welsh folk music, but there is more than enough here to interest the English (only) speaking listener. The lyrics are masterful in either language and the opening lines of the first track, Hill of Pines, are enough to arrest the attention immediately. Whereas there used to be only Joni Mitchell, recent years have brought forth a regiment of young women whose songs are "right from the heart". The self-absorbed, songstress is in danger of becoming a cliché, but these songs have none of that about them, being shaped out of a deep generous spirituality with, I think, Catholic undertones and a vocabulary which winds together a realistic natural and emotional landscape. Every track has its place and there is no filler on this album. The twining of the themes of love and land has old roots in Wales, but the same blend is found here in completely new ways. I can't think of an album I have enjoyed so much since Steve Eaves's Moelyci. Georgia Ruth comes from the same wellspring as Steve Eaves, that of intelligent, skilful modern blues/folk, with a deep respect for traditional forms. It's no surprise that the supporting credits on the album include Lleuwen.
Georgia Ruth is an excellent harpist but tends to use the harp a little more as a rhythmic instrument than might be expected. She mentions her admiration for Meic Stevens and Bert Jansch and has found ways to bring those influences to the harp. I have read reviews suggesting her voice is a little light and feathery, but it is strong enough, warm enough and sufficiently varied of tone to carry whatever she chooses to sing. To these achievements must be added the entirely open and natural tunes that the songs follow. There is no straining here to find significance and meaning in the discordant. The melodies are by turns as obvious and as surprising as one could wish.
A first album often indicates promise to be fulfilled at a later time, but this is a first album that is already fully mature. In the long run I suspect that Georgia will focus more on Welsh language songs, and she will become an established pillar of Welsh music. It will be interesting to see what her impact will be in England.