This Can’t Be My Life by Ruth Gerson (Wrong Records)
Anyone who has ever had an extremely rough period in their life, perhaps in a relationship, will find the songs of Ruth Gerson to be deeply cathartic. If you mix the powerful bite of You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette with the longing wisdom of Joni Mitchell’s Blue, you’re only just beginning to understand the dark artistry of This Can’t Be My Life. With singing influences ranging from Sarah McLaughlin to Sheryl Crow – and a bit of rocking Chrissie Hynde thrown in for good measure, Ruth Gerson conveys the stunning material with deadly precision. Torch-like singing combined with raw, honest emotion make this disc an unforgettable journey for all who even give a casual listen. But after the first track, there is little doubt that you’ll be hooked with what this passionate artist has to offer. Pay good attention for a richly rewarding experience.
Fresh Air starts off the disc with a brutal realization that a relationship is indeed over, and it’s time to move on. Writing on this particular track was finished on a New Years Day, when all things are new. Definitely a powerful kick off track.
“How can you sleep, how can you eat, how can you breathe,” asks the singer on the self-titled cut This Can’t Be My Life, showing enlightenment and personal triumph in even the darkest of places. “This can’t be what God and my mom wanted me to be,” continues on the absolutely devastating lyrical content.
Bulletproof is another song that will remain in your head for ages, with the chorus, “It doesn’t hurt” ringing through the track like an uneasy victory over personal adversity. Stay With Me has a dark sensually that permeates like a sweet yet distant reverie throughout the song.
Does Your Heart Weep is gripping and introspective, presenting a perfect combination of subtle yet emotional vocals, and a simple yet tuneful piano adding a sense of longing and empathy to the proceedings. Hazel is a standout composition – a dream-like gem of a song that is nevertheless powerful and sweeping in scope.
Another superb cut is You Lie, where the ultra cool torchy vocals threaten to absolutely explode with rage at any moment. And then there’s Ruth Gerson the storyteller, conveying a chilling tale of unbridled passion and death in the murky strains of Black Water. The vocals on this one recall Bobbie Gentry at her most fierce and vibrant.
This Can’t Be My Life is an 11-song journey through the desires and disappointments of a life that many will be able to relate to. A mesmerizing personal work that will astound all mature listeners who desire their music to be thoughtful and challenging.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
Ruth Gerson on Myspace