[9 May 2014]
Having grown up in the marshes of southern Georgia under the auspices of a novelist aunt purported to be a witch and a singing grandfather farmer, it comes as no surprise Ruby the RabbitFoot (Ruby Kendrick) chose the artistic life with a stage name derived from the ubiquitous amulet thought to bring its holder good luck. Now a resident of Athens, Georgia, Kendrick’s naturalistic upbringing plays a central role in the songs on her sophomore album, New as Dew. Bearing both a sense of home and nature—be they figurative or literal—the two are intertwined: “Oh my brain looks like a rosy patch / And they bloom and they die / It’s the most gorgeous thing / They spiral in and out no apologies”, she intones on “Ring Around”.
Rather than ward off evil spirits, New as Dew finds Kendrick halting potential suitors at arm’s length (“The Shelf”), lamenting ex-lovers (“Killers”) and detailing her shortcomings (“Misery”). Should home be “a dead-end street” or a metaphorical vessel, it is a place of comfort where the emotions detailed on the album are deeply rooted. At the heart of New as Dew is Kendrick’s keen writing. Delivered with a siren’s saccharin conviction, each song carries an equal part of emotional separation. Strip away the multi-tracked vocals and organ on “Infinity” and the song would work just as well sung in a coffee shop. Conversely, one could easily remix the album’s rhythmic title track into a dance floor anthem.
Like the namesake mammal witches have been thought to transform into, New as Dew shows the growth of Ruby the RabbitFoot as an assured songwriter who is less reliant upon studio magic that dotted her folk-tinged debut, No Weight No Chain. Be it a stroke of good luck or artistic focus, Kendrick has chosen—and now earned—a worthy moniker.