The good news is that Ingrid’s Ruse, one of my favorite area bands, is finally putting out an album. The bad news is that their CD release party, which happens this Saturday at the Heritage Tavern in Charlestown, is also their farewell show.
Real life calls many a talented musician home. Singer/guitarist Ingrid Ayer-Richardson earned a degree in mathematics, and an opportunity in Maine gave her a chance to put it to use. After a bang-up appearance at this year’s Roots on the River festival, she and husband Micah packed up and headed north.
Saturday’s show will be a bittersweet coda to a promising chapter in area music.
The roots-folk foursome formed in the summer of 2005, immediately winning fans with a sound that sat between the modern baroque of Richard Thompson and the easy pop of Fleetwood Mac. The band’s namesake was also its focal point, with a voice that could rise stealthily from the mist and suddenly engulf a room.
Ingrid had stopped by one of Ezra Veitch’s open mike nights at PK’s Tavern in Bellows Falls, and Ezra liked what he heard. They quickly put a band together; Veitch played bass and contributed some of his songs.
He and drummer Matt Parker eventually left, ace guitarist Josh Maiocco (who inherited PK’s open mike when Ezra left town last summer) and ex-Stonewall bassist Kam McIntyre joined up. Drummer Shamus Martin anchors the Ruse’s sound.
Martin runs Exsubel Records in Saxtons River, and he handled production chores for the record in addition to playing on it. Fans who buy the CD this weekend will also receive a copy of the final live show.
It will be great to hear them again after so long, and their unique interpretations of songs that range from Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” to U2’s “One,” along with the odd Nirvana or Joni Mitchell cover.
My favorite, though, is their gender-bending take of Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” which paws like a cat at the opening, then roars to full speed like the über-motorcycle of the title. It’s the perfect distillation of Ingrid’s Ruse’s soon to be missed sound. Do yourself a favor, and join the hometown crowd to give them a good sendoff.
What else is on tap for the weekend? I’m glad you asked:
Thursday: A New Kind of Blue, Sophie & Zeke’s – Wm. Kinsella famously wrote, “If you build it, they will come.” They did, and now word is out about Thursday and Friday night music in downtown Claremont. This fine jazz combo, led by vocalist Emily Lanier, is the de facto house band Thursdays. Tomorrow, it’s bluegrass with the Spiral Farm Band, who gets more popular with every appearance.
Friday: Keith Hollis & The Po’ Boyz, Salt Hill – If you’re a fan of the Allman Brothers Band circa 1970, you’re going to love these guys. Hollis plays the Hammond just like Gregg, and slide guitar ace Cory Williams is a scary-good Duane disciple. How reliable is their pedigree? When Hollis was starting out, he played in a band with Elijah Blue Allman – yeah, that one. He’s even done the Leno show.
Saturday: Kurious, Claremont Opera House – Christian music has evolved (perhaps not the right word, I know) from the tambourine-shaking shiny happy people of yesteryear into something with a bit more, shall we say, teeth. Creed and Jars of Clay are good examples of this trend. Pennsylvania-based Kurious blends edgy, melodic rock with spiritual reverence, and does a pretty good job. This is a free with donations accepted show.
Sunday: Kaki King, Iron Horse – Prestidigitation with a guitar master. Known for her percussive guitar styling, reminiscent of Ani DiFranco and La Guitara cohort Patty Larkin, she’s made a couple of changes this time around. She’s singing for the first time, and plugging in with a band. With a reputation that’s already earned her the title “Queen of the Guitar” in some circles, this could be her moment.
Tuesday: Lisa Rogak, Canoe Club – An area writer who is best known for biographies of famous people like “Da Vinci Code” writer Dan Brown and the late low carbohydrate diet guru Dr. Robert Atkins. Like Stephen King, she uses music to unwind. Unlike the Down East Bard, she prefers eclectic jazz and smart classical to garage rock. That’s a perfect fit for the Hanover supper club crowd.
Wednesday: Bo Diddley, Lebanon Opera House – A member of the second class of performers inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, the man with the square guitar has been making music for over 50 years. Famous for the rhumba beat in songs like “Mona” and “Bo Diddley is a Gunslinger,” he’s joined at the Opera House by blues ace Alvin Youngblood-Heart and the soulful Ruthie Foster.