Brave Ships – Ruth Blake (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It is easy to hear a sonic link to the past when the dulcet and delicious tones of Ruth Blake’s latest single begin emanating out of the speakers. It brings to mind the likes of Joni Mitchel, Suzanne Vega and Natalie Merchant, Laura Marling and Carrie Tree. But it is also a song whose relevance for the world that we find ourselves in today is unmatched.

Drawing on the inspiration of her friend, disabled swimmer Ashley Jenkins and the writings of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes it deals with themes such as hope in troubled times, of triumph over adversity, of having confidence in ourselves as we set out to sail the tumultuous seas of fate.

And again, if musically it echoes with the sonic delights of the past, it too chimes with the sound of the here-and-now too. It is soulful and sensitive, spacious and sweet, deft and delicate, understated and gently majestic.

Her’s is the modern face of folk music, rich in the traditions of storytelling, symbolism and subtle analogy and richly adorned with the lightest and most gossamer of sounds, layered together into shimmering kaleidoscopes of colour.

Gorgeous feels like too ordinary a word. But until a better one comes along to fully capture Ruth Blake’s sound, it is going to have to do.

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