Ruthie & the Wranglers

Life's Savings

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This is the second release by this oh-so-twangy country group that is setting the Washington, D.C. country scene afire; and for that matter, Ruthie & the Wranglers are getting more and more airplay all over the country, as well they should. Ruthie Logsdon has written some of the most original and cheeky compositions, particularly the tongue-in-cheek "He's a Honky Tonk Man (But He Wants to Be a Honky Tonk Woman)." Just as a title it ranks right up there with "If You Divorce Me Baby Who'll Get the Pickup Truck" and, of course, the old Spooky Tooth song "She Broke My Heart So I Busted Her Jaw," and the words don't disappoint. Take her seriously -- even though she plays with words and your mind, she is writing some of the most witty and insightful compositions to be heard in a while. She wrote or co-wrote five of the 11 songs. Guitarist (and collaborator on two songs) Phil Mathieu wrote one instrumental, which really allows him to step forward and show off his licks. He is displaying some of the tastiest picking and is definitely a force to be reckoned with when one thinks of hot guitar players in the country/rockabilly genre. This group is solid all the way through. Mark Noone does some fine bass playing, providing the backing vocals and producing the disc. Joel App puts a definite, powerful beat into all the grooves. He is a drummer who plays country with a Chicago blues flavor. Ruthie's twang is from as deep in the heart as they come. She uses that heart to put some life into some of the covers and perk them up a bit. Listen to the very high-energy version of Loretta Lynn's "Fist City," a song that had grown as close to being lifeless as the last hacking breath before the spirit flees the body. This group is one that should be considered for sheer energy, and the band has the chops and intelligence to blast you out of any lethargy.

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