Hurricane Ruth – Good Life
10 tracks – 35 minutes
Hurricane Ruth LaMaster’s Good Life features her hard rocking blues style in her fifth studio album and debut on the American Showplace label. Ruth’s seasoned voice that Willie Dixon once described as “the only hurricane I can appreciate” sings the blues from a female’s perspective, sharing stories of joy, strength, heartache and friendship, peppered throughout with a mother’s advice to all. Good Life’s lyrics are personal incorporating counsel from her mother with her own life affirming credos. In fact, the whole album feels like a tribute to her mother and strong women.
Sharing her life choices with us through the blues comes naturally to Ruth, as she was raised with music as a family business. Ruth’s father Milt LaMaster played drums and trumpet as well as owning and managing with her mother The Glendale Tavern, in Beardstown, Illinois. Here she was influenced by musicians who came from all over the region to perform blues, jazz, country, rock ‘n’ roll and big band. All of these styles shaped her vocals and musical choices which can be enjoyed in this album.
Good Life‘s 10 tracks include 8 songs written or co-written by Hurricane Ruth plus Grammy-winner Gary Nicholson’s “Torn In Two” and “I’ve Got Your Back” written by Karen Leipziger/Freda McCrary/Irene Kelley. Joining LaMaster in the studio on Good Life are Scott Holt (guitar), Bruce Katz (Hammond B-3, keyboards), Calvin Johnson (bass) and Tony Braunagel (drums).
Heading off the album is a fun honky-tonk blues stomping song, “Like Wildfire” about her temperature rising when she is around someone with whom she has chemistry.
“Dirty Blues” is a song every lady can identify with who loves the blues and dancing at a club to live music; every singer can identify watching those joyous ladies on the floor who “needs no partner.” Ruth and lead guitar (Scott Holt) are in a conversation throughout the song, which does make the “foot stomping girls” want “to get out there and dance.”
In “What You Never Had” Ruth shares her mom’s advice “Why worry about what you never had. life’s about living, not what you have.”
And that kernel of wisdom leads into a poignant, soulful ballad “Good Life” (written with Scott Holt) that originated from a conversation Ruth had with her mom about a year before she passed away. Ruth asked her questions about her life and what she would have done differently. Ruth recalls in the lyrics her mother letting her know “There’ are somethings that I wish could change but I ain’t afraid of dying because I’ve had a good life.” Ruth laments ”Mama what will I do without you?” and her mom replies “You’re strong just like your mother, you will be okay, always remember I love you and live each day likes it your last day.”
“She’s Golden” speaks to a woman who has lived a hard life but is stepping out “from the darkness into the light” to “rise from the ashes of her life.” “Black Sheep” honors Ruth’s bad ass side and “Who I Am” is an ode to accepting oneself. Wrapping up the album is “I’ve Got Your Back” which everyone wants to hear whether you’re her lover, friend or listener.
Hurricane Ruth is truly living a Good Life in song.