One of the most unique sounds I’ve run across lately is from Nashville duo Sam & Ruby. As often happens in the acoustic, singer-songwriter world of solo performers, Ruby Amanfu and Sam Booker found each other through mutual friends in the Nashville music scene during 2005. After collaborating on a song Ruby was trying to place on the movie soundtrack for “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” they both realized their sum was greater than the parts. Sam was the 70s folk influence (think James Taylor & Cat Stevens), and the Ghana-born Ruby brought a love of gospel music and a Berklee education.
Their music together is some of the smoothest pop stylings I’ve heard in the last 2-3 years. Their album “The Here and Now” is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys artists like Corrine Bailey Rae or the 2007 Oscar-winning song ‘Falling Slowly’ by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. In fact, you can listen to a full album stream at Essence.com, who featured the duo in August.
For me, ‘This I Know’ (song #2) is an instant pop music classic. It was so incredible I’m ashamed to admit I pulled it up on allmusic.com to see if it was a remake – nope! Many of my newer music friends didn’t really understand my analogy, but this song reminded me instantly of a Mick Hucknall cut. As the creative force behind Simply Red in the mid 80s, Mick was quietly turning out amazing pop songs.
So if you appreciate smooth R&B sounds mixed with an acoustic vibe, this is a must-listen. Think a slightly more upbeat Norah Jones, a bunch of lush string-laden arrangements, and a little Adele flavor – all on top of the early Jennifer Nettles' Soul Miner’s Daughter harmony base. Great stuff for my ears…