The Ruta Beggars composed of Micah Nicol (guitar), Sofia Chiarandini (fiddle), Ariel Wyner (mandolin), Trevin Nelson (banjo) and Noah Harrington (bass) is a bluegrass band currently based in Boston, MA. They have been featured on the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Showcase, Steve Martin’s Unreal Bluegrass, Brian O'Donovan's A Celtic Sojourn and the main stages of Joe Val, Grey Fox, Thomas Point, and Ossipee Bluegrass Festivals. The band also recently released an eight-song EP entitled Ever-Changing.
The band mentions their music is “traditional bluegrass and early swing to create a timeless act filled with intricate vocal harmonies, fiery instrumentals and plenty of fun. They start the album with “Papa’s Got Ahold of the Wine” and the band's talent is evident right off the bat. The song is as warm and inviting as sunshine. All the instrumentation is very organic and clean. There’s plenty of space to hear the vocals very clearly. This is a joyous and fun song to get things going.
The settle into a back and forth sway on “Red Carpet” which is a heartfelt song. There’s a low level sense of melancholy but also of gratitude. The vocal harmonies were exceptional and the instrumentation comes in when needed.
“Ever-Changing Love (feat. Justin Moses)” has some fast moving banjo playing and is a very dance worthy song. The song makes for one heck of knee slapping go time. The band is very much in the pocket and they nail the performances.
“Hold Me Close” is a song about heartbreak and a highlight to my ears. This song contained some of the most memorable vocal melodies. I also loved the instrumental breakdown around the two-and-a-half minute mark.
“Pass You By” was another highlight. The vocals were again memorable upon first listen and just another display of the band working as a cohesive single unit. They wisely slow things down with the lush and emotive “The Way That You Loved Me” while “Yodelin’ Yasmin” is a playful and jazzy sign with a lot of swing. The end with a nostalgic and reflective song called “I’ll Never Forget.”
The band is full of very talented musicians and this album was very strong from beginning to end. Fans of bluegrass as well as like-minded genres should love this. Take a listen.
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