Fronted by powerhouse vocalist Ruby Friedman, the RUBY FRIEDMAN ORCHESTRA announces its long-awaited debut full-length album GEM will be released Friday, June 24. The roots-infused collection of gale-force, intensely personal original compositions was co-produced by Peter Malick (Norah Jones), Josh Valleau (John Legend, Imani Coppola), Alex Elena (Alice Smith) and Nick Page (B.B. King).
“I’m aiming to just create music as worship and homage to my heroes,” says Friedman. “Maybe something that serves as a keyhole for American music in the first half of the 20th Century but also looks forward to a future consciousness that would need more lyrically and sonically. Always something that my heroes would like and maybe even listen to if they could.”
The 10-song collection–recorded in New York, Calgary and Los Angeles–features nine original songs solely written or co-written and co-produced by Friedman and includes Friedman‘s striking rendition of Darrell Scott’s “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” (featured in 2014’s season-closing episode of the hit FX series “Justified”).
“I do music basically because it feels like someone has a gun to my head and I don’t write unless it really feels like they’re about to pull the trigger and I’ll die if I don’t, says Friedman. “It’s always a test to see who will survive.”
Friedman‘s stops-out vocal performances–drawing on such diverse sources as Bessie Smith, Etta James, Patsy Cline, and PJ Harvey–and affecting original songs have garnered praise from the likes of Buzzbands.la‘s Kevin Bronson who raved, “the L.A. songstress comes at you like a weather front, a thunder-and-lightning barrage of soul and nerves, capable of wrapping more drama into a phrase than most singers do in their autobiographies.”
Tracklisting for GEM:
“Fugue In L.A. Minor”
“I’m Not Your Friend”
“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive”
“I Don’t Want”
“Red Light Lullaby”
“Lonely Road Symphony Rag”