Musical Pairings: Sam and Ruby

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last week, NPR's "Tell Me More" with Michele Martin (love that program!) featured a musical duo based in Nashville called "Sam and Ruby". The pair are a cross-blend of folk, back-porch blues, R&B melodies and gospel, and are perhaps the ones to watch in their slowly simmering come-up on the indie music scene.

Though both are musical soul mates, Sam Booker and Ruby Amanfu beautifully profess that their relationship is not one of a couple. They even compare their connection to that of figure skaters: able to reveal an undeniable chemistry and closeness on stage, while being equally close friends, not necessarily lovers, off stage.

West-African born but reared in the plains and fields of Nashville, Ruby Amanfu releases an ethereal, breathy voice that begs you to relinquish your everyday qualms to a better life, and to love. The handsomely scruffy guitarist Sam Booker, hailing from Michigan, plays the guitar as though he's sitting on the back porch strumming for no one except the trees, the sun, and a long-lost love.

Among the various beautiful arrangements on their debut studio album "The Hear and The Now", the song "What do I do now" feels like a lover's challenge: both partners declaring that neither plans on "slowing down" or giving up, but will continue to pursue the other's affection. Ruby's voice starts out almost like a low whisper while building into a smoldering purr. Sam's guitar chords give way to an achingly beautiful violin and a symphonic orchestra of billowing voices that rise like spirits or ghosts in the background.

Standout tracks:
"Heaven's My Home"
"This I Know"
"What do I do now"

Hear Sam and Ruby on NPR's "Tell Me More
Check out their Myspace

*Also, as an aside: Sincere apologies. Someone e-mailed me with an inquiry for a partnership with the Chestnut, and I accidentally deleted the e-mail. Would love to hear from you again, however!


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