Red Eye Ruby – Ruby EP
Album review by Joslyn Danielson
Red Eye Ruby re-emerges post Covid with an all new backing band and a voice demanding to be heard. Ruby Blu possesses a haunting, breathy soprano that adds an organic and folksy feel to any song or genre. The other members of the group are exceptional and multi-faceted, with Jason Murray on bass, Ishmael Menseh on the drums, and Mike Drager on lead guitar.
In their brand new EP that releases on July 29th, Red Eye Ruby reimagines some older tracks (“Howl”), as well as introduces some new. The opening track is their recently-released single, “Sunshine And Good Lookin”. The song has a full band sound, a little country and a little bluesy. It is best described as roots-rock with drawn out organ keys, and horn interludes.
It then takes a sharp turn as banjo, shakers, and stand-up bass enter the scene. “Bright” is a plucky yet melancholic folk song. It includes elements of hot club swing, Balkan folk, flamenco, and a tinge of delta blues. The haunting chorus repeats the lyrics, “without your love I’m a ghost in the night”.
Spanning across rhythm and blues, rock, folk, swing, and jazz, the EP offers a vast variety of musical influences. The sultry, Winehouse-esque ballad about abusive relationships (“Sin Again”) is followed by a soothing and folksy lullaby (“Mockingbird”).
The last song on the album features an intro of a recorded phone conversation between a hesitant woman and a pushy man who is trying desperately to manipulate her into coming over. The demand to be heard and respected by men is present in many of the songs, and is most obviously reiterated in the album’s conclusion, “My Name Is Ruby”.
Ruby’s lyrics in this song speak of the struggles of a modern woman, but put to the music of the past. This creates a juxtaposition of nostalgia and tradition against the need for progression and innovation. When sung over upbeat, Romani-inspired jazz, one imagines women from many points in history singing about being silenced by the men around them.
Red Eye Ruby will be performing live at the Hook And Ladder Theater on July 29th for their EP release party. They will be playing alongside the Dylan Salfer Band, who will be opening the show starting at 10pm. Ruby can also be seen hosting the Crosstown Open Jam (alongside Space Monkey Mafia’s Dante Leyva) at KJ’s Hideaway in downtown St. Paul on August 21st.