|Friday 08 March 2019 @ 09:00pm : -
Ruth Theodore is truly unique artist and performer, creating charming and humble yet challenging and compelling pieces of original work. Her natural lyricism and deliberate turn of phrase is that of a skilled writer in command of, and having fun with, the idea of contemporary songwriting. Armed with a dazzling array of unconventional guitar tunings, a Keith Jarrett-esque ‘off the wall’ piano style, and some serious musicianship, Ruth tells stories with captivating vocal dexterity.
At age 5 Ruth Theodore was told that she would never physically be able to play guitar and following a sledging accident, aged 9, that left her unable to speak, singing and playing the guitar were unexpected career choices. Yet by the age of 14 Ruth was earning money as a singer and guitarist, busking in doorways on detuned guitars. Remaining true to her own unique sound and signature guitar style Ruth has gone on to perform her songs and tour alongside legendary artists such as Ani Difranco, Dar Williams, Jane Siberry, Jeff Lang and Hamell On Trial, for packed out venues including The London Palladium, Bush Hall, The Union Chapel, The Borderline and Glastonbury Festival. Ruth has released four critically acclaimed albums to date, three released through homegrown label River Rat Records and the most recent, recorded in the US with producer and bassist Todd Sickafoose (Anais Mitchell/Ani Difranco) through Aveline Records.
Free from knowing the names of the strings, Ruth’s guitar playing and use of unconventional techniques and unique tuning structures bewilders guitarists. Composing and arranging all of her music by ear Ruth can be heard in recent recordings applying her own unique style to Piano. Starting to create her own music as a teenager, teaching herself guitar and busking on Southampton High Street, when staying in the doorway of a branch of WHSmiths. Moving to London in 2006 in search of music, Ruth slept (secretly) beneath a workbench in a disused Turkish Delight Factory, which years later, she and a team of musicians transformed into a recording studio. It was here that she recorded and released; White Holes Of Mole Hills (2010) and Dear Lamp Love Moth (2013), receiving critical acclaim from the UK media, with reviews running in The Guardian & The Observer, whilst also achieving national radio play on BBC Radio3 and BBC 6 music, alongside rave reviews in music magazines Mojo, Q, fRoots and more. In 2007 once the workbench had become a drum booth Ruth moved on to a tiny narrow boat with no heating or electricity on the River Lea in East London. Her home for the last 10 years. The river and the land on which she moors have been a great source of inspiration. Keen to continue creating music on the water Ruth single-handedly converted a larger boat into a studio and rehearsal space which has become the base for her band, her own label River Rat Records and the venue for the ‘live’ EP ‘Earth to Shovel’ 2014.
Ruth’s fourth and arguably her most popular album "Cactucus" was born from a collaboration with US producer and bassist Todd Sickafoose. Todd produced Anais Mitchell’s widely acclaimed ‘Hadestown’ and not coincidentally is bassist for American Folk legend Ani DiFranco with whom Ruth performed two solo shows at London’s Union Chapel in 2012, invited back with her band as a special guest later in 2017 for one sold out show at The London Palladium. The critically acclaimed "Cactacus" also features the talents of drummer Mathias Kunzli (Regina Spektor) and organist Rob Burger (Tom Waits) amongst others. Released through Aveline Records, ‘Cactacus’ made numerous appearances on Radio 2, BBC London, BBC Radio Wales, BBC6 music and received more rave reviews from The Guardian, Mojo, Rock n Reel, fRoots and others.
Ruth Theodore: Guitar, Keyboard and Vocal
"She has a delicious turn of phrase… So listen closely [to] this most unconventional of artists." ~ BBC Radio-3
"Extraordinary… Confident and original." ~ The Guardian, 4 stars
"Occasionally recalling Kate Bush and Ani DiFranco, this is a beautiful, sad, wonderful LP" ~ Mojo, 4 stars
"Truly original…" "Her new album’s a killer" ~ Froots
"Confident, assured and truly unique" ~ Fatea Magazine
"… [an] impressive ability to excite audiences with her truly original, fascinating and thoroughly entertaining music….. a wealth of poetry, satire and pure, natural artistry. ‘Cactacus’ is a wonderful, captivating album." ~ Folk Radio UK
"The more I play her the more I like her" ~ BBC Wales
"Songs so quirky and unexpected that it’s impossible to imagine anyone else performing them" ~ The Guardian, 4 stars
"Her tales leave you breathless" ~ Mojo, 4 stars
"One of the most distinctive live performers, singers, song writers and guitarists has done it again!" ~ Froots