Elin Ruth: “Bang”
Born in Sweden, Elin Ruth nonetheless continuously set her eyes westward across the Atlantic. She grew up in a household that loved American folk music, specifically by Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Leonard Cohen, but like most kids, Ruth rebelled and termed it “old man’s music.” She set out on her own path of musical discovery before circling back around to embrace the sounds of her childhood. In the early 2000s, Ruth released a handful of folk-inspired albums under given name of Elin Ruth Sigvardsson and rocketed up the Swedish charts.
But like so many folk artists before her, Ruth underwent a transformation. She dropped her original surname and moved across the Atlantic to New York, intent to spark her creativity with a change in surroundings. The singer lost all the lyrics and demo recordings from this period, yet she viewed that as a sign rather than bad luck. Ruth ignored her songwriting for the time being and focused on her personal life. In 2010, the singer made her move to New York permanent and got married, and all of a sudden that creative spirit came flooding back.
On January 29, Ruth will commemorate her new home by introducing herself to American audiences with her self-titled fourth album. Her first “hello” comes in the form of Bang, a four-song EP that she’s offering for free through her Facebook page. Past fans might be surprised by the EP’s title track–the brass section and gospel-tinged vocals are taken right out of the Otis Redding playbook–but by now they’re probably used to Ruth’s brilliant interpretive skill. And for Americans discovering her for the first time, what’s better than this first impression?