Hailing from the West Coast we find a sweet country-folk trio of ladies who perform as The Gruff. To begin with, let me assure you these gals are anything but gruff. In fact they are as smooth as fine Scotch trio with sweet, flawless harmonies, which carry their bluegrass/folk sound.
The Gruff are Jenny Ritter, who adds guitar, Terri Upton, who plays upright bass, and percussionist Phaedra Kemp. All three gals take lead vocal roles along the way here, although the true beauty of this recording comes from the harmonies.
This is the trio's debut album, and what a debut it is. There are a number of simply suburb cuts here from the lead Siren Call, which does exactly that calling the listener willing into the world of The Gruff, through songs such as The General Store, Silver Dagger, East For the Winter, and Handsome Molly, a song filled with the flavour of the salt sea.
So how good are The Gruff?
Well they were presented the Artist of the Year Award at the 2007 Vancouver Island Music Awards, no small feat given the depth of musical talent coming from the Island.
The Gruff has also been nominated as the Best New/Emerging Act for 2007 by the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
If this CD is indicative of what is to come from The Gruff it's a sure bet they will be up for many more awards in the years ahead.
Their combination of bluegrass/folk and near Gaelic sound is a winning combination. It may not be the type of music you will hear on radio often, but that only goes to show formula radio misses out on some great music.
The Gruff are a wonderful trio, and you won't go wrong seeking this one out. Check them out at www.thegruff.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Nov 28, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada