Ruth Minnikin Press Quotes for ‘Folk Art’
Uncut, May 2007, Rob Hughes
Canadian country gal Ruth Minnikin just gets better and better. Beautifully presented in a stamped canvas sleeve, third LP Folk Art (4 stars) finds her shifting further from the sweet country-folk of earlier work into the darker recesses of rural American tradition. A bony set of tunes veering from freakshow carnival nightmares ("Bad Dreams Pt.1") through N'awlins jazz ("Chicken Cooped Up In Country Music") to spare parlour folk ("Song Mill"). See www.ruthminnikin.ca for details.
London Sunday Times, Stewart Lee, Feb. 2007
Ruth Minnikin signed with EMI as part of The Booming Airplanes at the age of 17. Ten years and several albums with Nova Scotian Alternative Country band The Guthries later, she issues her third solo record, Folk Art, in a small cloth bag with stenciled artwork, accompanied by a handwritten track sheet. Recorded and mixed in three days, even fans of lo-fi singer songwriters like Jolie Holland or Freakwater might find Folk Art a little minimal, but Minnikin's cracked vocal skips over perfectly miniaturized songs featuring mandolin, banjo and French horn. Find Folk Art at www.ruthminnikin.ca. There's a hootenanny in the dolls' house.
Jason Walnut 8 out of 10
A bafflingly beautiful and brilliantly bizarre record
Folk Art begins with 'Bad Dreams Part 1', a bite sized portion of wacky noise terrorism straight out of a Beach Boys 'Wild Honey/Smiley Smile' interlude. With 'Part 2' closing the album intrigue begins to build as to what's to be found between these two instrumental bookends.
'Angel at the Dawn' is a glorious mix of ummpha horns, plucked strings and floaty vocals that transport the listener to a spurious place just this side of Trumpton. 'Southern Misfortune' introduces great male vocal harmonies into Folk Arts' jolly waltz / Hovis advert world.
Listen to 'Chicken Coop' and along with the first appearance of a regular drumbeat should come a huge smile to your face (and for the more adventurous) an opportunity to shake a tail feather. The spacious 'Stairs' is a classic guitar and mandolin love affair. Veering towards Laura Cantrell territory, the track is filled with delicious sentiment, “Where have you gone? I've looked so hard for you, I hope you won't be long.”
Banjo and bass clarinet fill 'Song Mill', whilst 'Instrumental Breakdown' leads to the conclusion that somewhere a summer fete is missing a band. 'Admirable Admiral' is a sing-a-long affair which could be the distant cousin of Leonard Cohen's 'Passing Through'. 'Christmas Riff' sees an all hands on deck jam around a Simon and Garfunkle classic.
"Slow down you're moving too fast..."Over far too quickly, "Folk Art" is a delightful listen.
Ruth Minnikin's genius lies in her mastery of the understated. Recorded in two days and mixed in 24 hours, Folk Art is a no-muss-no-fuss album that delivers. Minnikin's gently warm, rich vocals and distinctive tone set her apart from other female folkies. The songs amble along at a relaxed pace, with "Southern Misfortune" hinting at Minnikin's touchier country side, and her sense of clever wordplay comes out in "Admirable Admiral." Minnikin is ably backed by members of The Guthries and The Heavy Blinkers, including her brother, Gabe Minnikin. Gentle touches of bassoon, horns and bass clarinet complement the guitar and banjo sounds in lieu of a bass guitar or string bass, which contribute to a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.