Music Review: Amber Rubarth: Sessions From the 17th Ward (2012)

Amber Rubarth Sessions From the 17th WardAmber Rubarth: Sessions From the 17th Ward

Release Date: 10/2/2012
Label: Chesky Records

Amber Rubarth is a special sort of musician with an abundance of talent, a wondrous voice and a knack for performing songs to perfection. With her release of her first live album, “Sessions From the 17th Ward,” a private show recorded at the St. Elias Church in Brooklyn, her raw talents are at display in this live release. From a hard-working young musician with nothing to lose, she began her musical journey to get to where she is at today.

Sessions From the 17th Ward” opens with a Tom Waits’ classic, Hold On, and closes with The Carter Family’s Storms Are on the Ocean. Interspersed throughout are plenty of original songs and more well planned covers of classic artists such as Louis Armstrong and Bob Dylan. For a fresh break, we are even treated to a few musical interludes.

If you are new to Amber Rubarth, the first thing to note is her exceptional, hypnotic vocals. She entrances the listener with her musical compositions and voice alike. Songs like Darkest Dark, Brightest Light are under two minutes, but completely hypnotize the listener. Add in the violin, cello and percussion work from Tim Snider, Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer respectively and “Sessions From the 17th Ward” takes you on a full journey that you will not forget.

The setting of Brooklyn’s St. Elias Church seems to be the perfect intimate location to listen to Rubarth. Its modest setting is as unassuming as the music and seems like the perfect place for Rubarth’s talents to shine through. Her voice is gentle yet powerful and her songwriting is straight from the heart with complete honesty and a slight touch of inner pain. Her message is quite clear throughout each passage of every song though as it bleeds hope and perseverance.

Sessions From the 17th Ward Track Listing:
1 Hold On (5:41)
2 Don’t You (2:11)
3 Strive (Interlude) (1:16)
4 A Kiss to Build a Dream On (2:45)
5 Down Home (Interlude) (2:04)
6 Novocaine (4:56)
7 Darkest Dark, Brightest Light (1:46)
8 Tundra (Interlude) (2:15)
9 Good Mystery (3:19)
10 Washing Day (5:04)
11 Sneak (Interlude) (2:15)
12 Full Moon in Paris (3:25)
13 Just Like a Woman (3:57)
14 Storms Are on the Ocean (3:39)

Album Credits:
Amber Rubarth – Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Tim Snider – Violin
Dave Eggar – Cello
Chuck Palmer – Percussion