“Real songs with real emotions, great instrumental work, superb harmonies and one of the best female vocalists in the business. This CD is pure listening pleasure." - Al Kniola, Host, The Back Porch, 88.1 WVPE Public Radio.
Turn Back A Page, the fourth independent recording project from long-time performers, Ruth and Max Bloomquist, is a collection of 12 of Ruth’s newest songs produced with acoustic instruments only. Ruth and Max play guitar and bass, respectively. Ruth handles all of the lead vocals with Max singing the bulk of the harmony. Featured guest musicians include frequent stage mates John King (b-bender guitar) and Dan Seabolt (fiddle) with special guest Jeff Rose (mandolin) and co-producer Scott Zylstra (guitars). David Habetler lends his 12-string guitar sound to one track, and Lansing area musician Cindy Morgan plays concertina on another. Additional harmony is supplied by Theresa Smith and by Ruth herself.
A few of the Ruth penned songs included on the disc are: Michigan Girl, Ruth’s love song to her home state; Daddy Was An Old Man, the true story of a friend born when his father was 58 years old; gospel song Bathe Me In The Water; and Ruth’s memorial to John Denver, I’ll Remember John.
The Bloomquists have enjoyed a long career in music since they met in 1975 and discovered their common love for music played with acoustic instruments and featuring lyrics from the heart, including Folk, Bluegrass, Traditional Country, Celtic, and Folk Rock. For more information on Ruth and Max Bloomquist and to view their performance schedule see their website at www.ruthbloomquist.com.
1. Same Old Grind
This is what happens when it’s supposed to be spring in Michigan and it’s still snowing! This kind of song comes about. Though I no longer have a “9 to 5” job, it doesn’t mean I don’t know how it feels. So lack of springtime weather makes me think of those warmer climes that I would very much like to take advantage of. And lucky for me I have that guy mentioned in the last verse to travel and wear out shoes with me.
2. Turn Back a Page
I have seen this happen, when a couple has been together awhile it’s like the love just starts leaking away when the pressures of jobs, families and life in general starts to demand more attention. We forget that love is a verb and we have to DO something to keep it alive. Sometimes we just have to be quiet and remember.
3. The Highway Song
We had been away from home for a week or so and we were on our way home. I really wanted to be home but we still had an hour or so to go. As I watched folks exiting the highway I wondered if they were close to the their homes and if so how lucky they were. That was the germ that started this song. Maybe the movie Cars had something to do with it too. In the chorus the up and coming drivers are “moving at the speed of light” or so it seems as the next generation hurries to pass us by.
4. Bathe Me In The Water
We happened to be performing for a church service a few days after I wrote this song. That Sunday morning the music director was going over the service with us and she said there was going to be a baptism in the middle of the service, which was a special happening that day. I asked if they would mind if I did this song in honor of the little tyke being baptized. So that was its first performance.
I particularly like the reference to the woman who had so much faith that just to touch the Master’s robe would heal her. It goes, “ And when the road is roughest and I’m tempted to let go. I will hold on tighter to the hem of your robe.”
5. I Hear Your Footsteps
An up-tempo Irish flavored murder ballad. Someone I care about had just gone through a particularly nasty break up. I wanted to make them feel better so I wrote this tune. It worked! Hell hath no fury…
6. Oh Mother
An Irishy ballad of a young person coming to America and being homesick and
unable to return. A friend of mine suggested I keep it gender neutral because the thought of a woman making this journey is intriguing. In the last verse I had said “ Time and need can turn a fool to a man”. I realized my friend had a valid point so I changed it to, Time and need can make a fool understand”.
7. A Wedding Prayer
Actually written for my niece’s wedding, it is a prayer for the bride and groom. I made this a prayer as I have had a hard time getting permission to sing songs for weddings that aren’t in a church’s hymnal. I’m not sure why.
I made a point in this song to mention the groom as well as the bride. So many songs for weddings deal with the woman and leave the guy on the sidelines. I felt in this case that the groom was going to need to learn patience to make this work, knowing the players as I do.
8. Daddy Was An Old Man
When my friend Jeff would start a story about his Dad he always said, “My Daddy was an old man before I was even born!” I heard him say that many times and thought, what a cool line I wonder how I can use it.
A true story written for a friend who’s father was born in 1887. The Dad was 58 years old when my friend Jeff was born. Jeff is now in his mid 60s. So the verses are actual bits and pieces of stories he told me about his dad. I wrote for Jeff to sing, but he hasn’t done so yet that I know of.
9. Michigan Girl
Originally written for a compilation of songs about Michigan by Michigan songwriters called, It’s a Michigan Thing. It’s a love song for my home state. I had heard so many songs about Tennessee, Virginia and all those states and I had never heard one I liked about Michigan. The State of Michigan MySpace used this song for about 4 months. You would hear it when you checked out their “space”. I got letters from some young guys that were away from home for the first time either in college or a first job out of college. They told me that it made them homesick and yet feel better. Home is supposed to feel good.
10. I’ll Remember John
This is my celebration of John Denver who influenced my songwriting and performance styles. There was a time that 90% of the songs I performed I learned from John Denver records. He was not only a wonderful writer but a gifted interpreter of other peoples’ songs. I always dreamed I would one day get to play a few songs with him, but that was not to be. So I wrote this for him anyway.
There are references to some of his songs, Country Roads, Sunshine on My Shoulders, Spirit, and Sticky Summer Weather. The second verse is a personal reference to singing John Denver songs to my boyfriend at the bar, who is now my husband of over 30 years. Yes John’s songs were personal to me.
Other references include eagles, and his grammy award winning CD of train songs for children, his last cd. That grammy was awarded posthumously.
11. Take It Down The Road
A happy tune also based on real people. Loopo the Clown taught kids to juggle
here in West Michigan. His real name was Ron Wolff. He developed a juggling kit that was sold in local stores. He enlisted his children, nieces and nephews
to help package them. His sons Ron & Joe used to help with sales and shows. I met Ron (Loopo) long after he had hung up his clown gear, through his nephew. Though he is nearly 80 you wouldn’t know it. He only takes center stage long enough to make sure that some one else gets the applause.