Ruth Gerson Sets New Album Release

04/18/2011
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Ruth Gerson will release her new album "Deceived" on May 17th, 2011 via Wrong Records.

A selection of traditional, country and folk songs, ranging from ancient to modern, about "the bad things that can happen to 'bad girls,'" the album was produced by five-time Grammy-nominated producer Rick Chertoff (Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, The Band) and William Wittman (Too Much Joy). "Deceived" features guest performances by Suzzy Roche (The Roches) and Byron Isaacs (Ollabelle), as well as some of the last recordings by guitarist Jack Rose, who passed away in 2009. Proceeds from "Deceived" will be donated to several organizations that benefit victims of domestic violence.*

"'Deceived' travels through time reflecting images of a society that tolerates domestic violence as part of its fabric," says Gerson. "Not that society agrees, but it is resigned to it to the extent that it is sung about, often cheerfully. Many of the songs are murder ballads about men killing women; but, notably, the two songs we know are written by women (Bobbie Gentry and Dolly Parton), the woman lives in these songs, but her baby dies. The stories suggest that women are punished for stepping outside the sexual morality of their community. You might think of them as 'birth-control songs.'" The album features eleven tracks, including "Knoxville Girl," "Omie Wise," "Little Sadie," "Mary From the Wild Moor," "Butcher Boy," "Ode To Billie Joe," "Delilah," "Down From Dover," "Banks of the Ohio," "Delia's Gone" and "Down In The Willow Garden."

Acclaimed author and rock critic Greil Marcus has praised the album: "It's a real triumph… [I was] entranced by how modern [she] made 'The Butcher Boy' feel without employing any modern-world tricks, and then equally surprised by how [she] altogether changed the rhythm of 'Ode to Billie Joe' and escaped the original without compromising it…. The last people I heard take up this sort of material with such brazenness and confidence was Snakefarm, and this could not be more different."

Gerson mentions, "Aside from some minor additional lyrics and melodies, these are not my compositions, however 'Deceived' is a culmination of much of my life experiences. I lived in a violent environment. In college, I studied ethics and violence. My senior thesis was a reconstruction of the feminine in Emmanuel Levinas' 'Totality and Infinity,' post-Holocaust thought which discusses the 'impossibility of murder.' The list of songs that could have been included on this album goes on, but we found a way for these eleven to hang together, similar to the way a visual artist might cut photographs of historical moments and create a collage that speaks out. The album is deceptively listenable, though the stories of the songs are difficult to hear.

"Rick, Bill (the producers) and I often spoke about the auditory goals of 'Deceived.' Rick wanted the listener to be attracted to the songs, to be hypnotized by them and for the album to stand alone as a piece of music. I wanted to be sure that the listener heard it as a kind of protest album. Bill had the eagle eye and ear on making sure all the sounds were right. We were fortunate to have a core group -- Phil Cimino (drums), Lance Doss (guitars), and Byron Isaacs (bass) -- who were able to take the talking we did in the control room and make it all sing. And we were blessed to have Suzzy (Roche) on 'Banks' and Jack Rose whose picking captured and transported us to another time on 'Omie Wise' and 'Little Sadie.'"

*One hundred percent of the artist proceeds from digital downloads of "Deceived" will be donated to several organizations that benefit victims of domestic violence, including Sanctuary For Families (NYC), Shalom Bayit (San Francisco), The Elizabeth House (Oakland), the AVON Foundation (Speak Out!), and The Family Violence Prevention Fund. (Gerson asks listeners to consider making donations directly to the not-for-profits and in return receive hard copies of "Deceived" as a gift. Donating directly to the organizations guides all of the purchaser's dollar towards aid; links to participating organizations will be available on Gerson's site, www.ruthgerson.com

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