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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Could that voice really have come from a 25 year old? Well, don't judge a CD by the photo on its cover. I was sent down a foot-tapping, finger-clicking journey to Parisian boulevards, New Orleans sidewalks and boozy nights in pubs with Ruarri's mates. Oh, and by the way, "Won't Work" reminded me of Cat Stevens! Sorry Ruarri, one day they`ll be saying "hey, he sounds like Ruarri Joseph!" (And as a special request, can we have a song about Cornwall drekkly).
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2007
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's hard to write this review without reverting to tried and tested comparisons with Jack Johnson, Badly Drawn Boy, Stephen Fretwell, Dylan, Cohen and any number of other bedsit dwelling singer/songwriters of their ilk, bemoaning their poor record with girls and how everything is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

However, after a few listens, I think this debut offering from Cornishman Ruarri, recorded in the studio Muse used to create their evil, world conquering, demonic tunes, offers something a little different from crummy-room angst and redundant take away tins. Instead, it blesses the listener with a genuine slice of mellow happiness and well crafted songs about love, loyalty and life - without ever veering into twee or soppy territories.

That cheery, optimistic disposition is evident in pretty much every track here, but nowhere more so than in the positively radiant "Cuddles Are The Best Thing", a song blessed by having a title that makes you smile, perhaps knowingly, before you've even listened to it's swampy, shuffling, whimsical stop and start tale of trips to the cinema to buy popcorn. I realise that sounds a little questionable, but by the time the french horn kicks in, and the accordion, and the swooping Gallic female backing vocals, you'll be captivated, and toe tapping along.

Other stand-out moments include "Patience", a moody, broody yet rocky number that Tom Baxter would be proud of, the title track with it's grinding guitar sections and bluesy folk that betters some of KT Tunstall's more successful offerings with ease, and the autobiographical "More Rock and Roll", my favourite track on the album, which summarises it's creator beautifully in it's lyrics; "I may look the part/But I know in my heart/That I'd rather be home with the wife".

Amen to that Ruarri.

The album has few low points. Perhaps, on a track by track basis, there isn't quite enough musical diversity to stun the listener into attention. And perhaps writing songs about cuddles, and drawings done by your baby girl ("Infant Eyes") isn't "cool" enough for those who like an edge and a challenge from their music.

But when it comes to music, who genuinely cares about cool?

It's clear Ruarri isn't a party animal, and you won't find him falling out of Brown's at 2am with an it girl on each arm (I'm not sure they'd approve of his perpetually worn flip flops in there anyway) but then, unlike pretty much every other homegrown singer/songwriter, man with guitar, artist out there, you won't find him staring dolefully out of his bedsit windows waiting for "her" to come back, or sobbing into his cold and stained pot of tea either.

Instead, buy this album and what you will get is a collection of 12 folky, bluesy, enjoyable, life affirming, well written and passionately performed songs from a man who, whilst I'm reluctant to use the tired "next best thing" tag to describe, is surely destined for bigger and better things when word gets around.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This album has the most amazingly proximate sound I have ever heard on a recording -- so much so that my wife sent me out to see if something was making a noise in the hall. The jazzy-folky acoustic sound is amazingly transparent, although the recording is in places deliberately rough with rattle and a little distortion on the vocals.

Musically speaking this is exciting, rumbunctious stuff with a big dose of humour.

The lyrics are intelligent and challenging, and ever so slightly reminiscent of the early Billy Bragg in their apparently artless artistry.

My only criticism of this album is that it leaves me waiting for the 'big song'. All the elements are there - musicianship, an expressively rough voice, melodic and lyric ability. But they never coalesce into one song that lifts the whole album and makes you want to listen to everything again and again.

Nonetheless, I'll be looking out for Ruarri's next album.
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VINE VOICEon 25 October 2007
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this album light-hearted & easy to listen to, on a sunny summer day, uplifting & refreshing.It'd probably pick me up if I'm having a bad day!
The lyrics are witty,on things in daily life yet meaningful,it teaches you about life somewhat...
Each song has something new & suprising to offer. I agree Ruarri has some similiarities to Jack Johnson, although not exactly the same but in the same genre.
Baby Fin is gorgeous & my favourite in this album.It gave me goose pumps!
Don't listen to this album if you want like sad, sentimental music!

I loved this album & it certainly grows on you.

Not to be missed.
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2007
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ruarri Joseph's album, Tales of Grime and Grit is a little bit Jack Johnson, a little bit Bob Dylan and a little bit of something new. The album as a whole is very hard to sum up, it's a great package of diverse tunes held together with some great lyrics and a voice that creates a smooth connection between the tracks. There's a prevailing theme of personal experience and family behind Tales, reflected in the performance which never feels as if it leaves the sitting room. Ruarri could well be sitting there, guitar in hand, playing on your sofa.

To understand the album, you really need to break it down into individual songs. The first track, Patience, might lead you to believe the album could be another in a long line of melancholy meanderings like so many other artists, but this preconception is shattered by the wonderful, Johnsonesque Won't Work. This has to be a single, it's both catchy and thought-provoking.

The background to the interestingly-named Blankets has a sort of 70s tambourine feel (think Kinks), yet contains some undiluted emotional lyrics as Stipe or Vedder might have penned. Then a change of pace again for the next track, Early Morning Remedy, a deliberately drunken sounding chorus of addiction which contains a serious message in a less than serious way.

The next two tracks are like mirrors of each other, Baby Finn tells of the thoughts going through a new parent's mind, while Cuddles seems to have a double identity about relationships, innocent on the outside but containing something possibly darker.

The title track is much harsher and feels more raw than anything else on this album, especially next to Infant eyes, another song that provides a welcome revisit to the feelings of Baby Finn. In fact, this track should come with a warning if you're a parent, it will make you melt.

Faces seems to be a personal grudge, something to get off his chest, and it shows in the darker sound produced here. Then we bounce back to a blues sound with a hummable chorus in Relying on Lying. More Rock n' Roll is very Dylan (with an English accent and suitable English statement to match) and the album culminates in Summercourt Fair 1995, a look back at youth.

Ruarri Joseph seems to be at his best when singing about home life and the happier times, these are the standout tracks. But it's refreshing in this day and age to come across an album so varied in feeling and yet held together with a great voice and wonderful sentiment.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ruarri Joseph's debut album has been compared to the likes Jack Johnson and if you try hard enough you can see (if not hear) some similarities. Both could be pigeon-holed (unfairly) into what I might call 'surfer/slacker chic', both feature tracks that are almost exclusive acoustic and guitar lead, both feature a male lead supported by un-named backing musicians.

There the similarities cease however, leaving Jackson (whose music I like) and Joseph as very different musical animals. As such further comparisons between the two are worthless and Ruarri's album deserves to be judged entirely on its own merits.

On this basis I would consider it a qualified success. Featuring guitar driven melodies backed, but never dominated, by a wide variety of supporting instruments, from boogie-woogie piano to horns, the album is eclectic in terms of the range of sounds on offer. Some tracks, like 'Relying on Lying' do carry hints of the sort of surfer-chic sounds popularised by the likes of the Thills. Others, such as the title track, are harder hitting with a definitely bluesy feel to them and some, like 'Infant Eyes' are simple, gentle melodies.

Such diversity makes placing Joseph in one single musical genre difficult. Some tracks are also far more successful than others, with 'Early Morning Remedy', the previously mentioned 'Infant Eyes' and 'More Rock N' Roll' particular standouts. On the whole the good also outweigh the not so good (there are no really poor tracks), but there are also no outstanding tracks that make you really sit up and pay attention.

The one truly surprising, and pleasing thing about Tales of Grime & Grit is how grown up it is in terms of the sentiments and emotions on offer in the music. Rather than the expected preoccupations with the concerns of youth such as partying and angst, the album instead focuses on issues such as parenthood and the desire to spend time with family rather than on meaningless partying. It is also resolutely positive, yet avoids becoming saccarine. Alll of this came as a refreshing change from some of the dark and edgy musical fare on offer from singer/songwriters these days.

So overall not a bad debut from Ruarri Joseph. Not an unqualified success, nothing that is going to make him stand out hugely from the crowd and unlikely to make any huge waves with the wider public unless the album's lucky to catch the cultural zeitgeist. Still, not a bad first effort and pleasurable to listen to when all you want is to chill out and relax.
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VINE VOICEon 22 October 2007
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ruarri Joseph

This the debut album from an unknown British artist who claims to take inspiration from the likes of Bob Dylan and Jack Jones but think this comparison is unfair, Ruarri is his own man with his own style and should be billed as such.

However, whilst his style might echo these artists there's still plenty of development required from Ruarri.

His style certainly has a laid-back feel but with more of a "folk" feel to some of his tracks. There was that personal guitar-lyrical feel that is always easy to listen to. The lyrics themselves could at times be a bit odd. Each track is slightly different in feel and this greatly affected how much I personally liked them.

Track one doesn't inspire the listener, I immediately got the feeling that I would be listening to just-another-newcomer. The following several tracks begin to show a level of quality that I might expect from this style of music. After all, if your music is guitar-lyrical (& not much else) it has to be good! However, the final few tracks begin to get rather weak for me; instrumentals aren't smooth enough to chill or the rhythm not punchy enough to inspire. They just sounded a bit bland for my taste.

Music is all about personal taste & I guess this CD wasn't bad as such; it just wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Overall I'd say this is worthy of a listen but without a "killer-track" this CD doesn't impress me. However, this does make excellent background music and will do a good job of soothing my baby to sleep. 3 out of 5
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mellow, slightly jazzy acoustic music, and songs about family life. The arrangements are generally fairly sparse, with acoustic guitar joined by percussion, piano, and occasional snatches of bluegrass banjo, and accordion. It's a pleasant CD to listen to, but initially nothing really stood out - on repeated listens this starts to change. This could be a real grower. The singing is laid back and mellow.

For the title track the pace increases - I really would have liked to hear some more electric instruments here - and a couple of tracks climax with some nice instrumental breaks or old time music sing-a-long choruses. It's a varied mix that never overstays its welcome, and the lyrics are occasionally interesting and touching.

I don't get the comparison to John Martyn - it's nothing like John Martyn, although the vocals are, like Martyn's, distinctive. It seems closer to me to modern singer/songwriters like Amy MacDonald, mellow Indie pop/rock.

Overall, an enjoyable, mellow CD that will certainly get repeated plays, but lacks some truly standout tracks that lodge themselves in your mind. The closest to this is Baby Finn, a touching track about a baby, and the title track. I'd certainly recommended it if you like acoustic, jazzy/folky music, and look forward to future work from Ruarri!
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on 17 March 2011
I first saw Mr Joseph in Newquay before he was ever signed and over the ensuing years and albums his music has become so intertwined with my life that although I now work outside of Cornwall he has come to define the musical identity of the county for me. I have found it to be varied, rich and melodic enough to never become irksome however frequently I listen. The lyrics are charming, staying the right side of twee, with satisfying rhythmic patterns of rhyme and assonance whilst feeling unstrained and free from cliche. It is a travesty that he is not better known nationally. This is my most played album of all time, beating the Beatles, Hendrix, Dylan (just) and the rest.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the charming debut album from Ruarri Joseph. He manages to create a nice blend between the guitar and his voice and the stories told in the songs are both humourous and touching. You can tell that he is inspired by his family and the album has some wonderful songs about his children and family life. You'd like this album if you like artists such as Newton Faulkner, although they aren't exactly alike. Overall this is a good album and perfect to put on in the evening and chill out to, it's easy going and has some great songs to put a smile on your face and to make your toes tap. Worth a go.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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