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Left Lane: Ruth Gerson

Murder, She Wrote on dazzling new disc

November 17, 2011
By RICH GIBSON , Times Leader

San Carlos, California-based singer/songwriter Ruth Gerson is passionate about domestic violence awareness.

So much so, she entered a recording studio and emerged with a similar-themed CD titled "Deceived."

Most unconventional in its presentation, 'Deceived' nevertheless stands alone as a daring, though dramatically effective disc, destined to earn top 10 status when the Left Lane's year-end awards are distributed in late December.

Gerson opted for a 'theme' project here and bluntly hammers home her message, performing 11 well-worn, off the beaten path tracks previously performed by the likes of Johnny Cash, Tom Jones, The Louvin Brothers, Dolly Parton, Bobbie Gentry and others.

In a press release, Gerson described the collection as "a selection of traditional country and folk songs ranging from ancient to modern about the bad things that can happen to bad girls."

The 1992 Princeton University grad joined forces with renown producer Rick Chertoff. Additional board work is provided by William Wittman.

"Rick wanted the listener to be attracted to the songs," Gerson explains. "He wanted them to be hypnotized by each song 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. The list of songs that could have been included on the album goes on, but we found a way for these eleven to hang together. The album is deceptively listenable, though the stories of the songs are difficult to hear."

Jones' 1960s pop hit "Delilah" receives more than adequate treatment from Gerson who wails: "She stood there laughing/I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more."

Parton penned the brooding "Down From Dover" in the late 60s. Gerson's take is a stark thing of beauty though the subject matter is anything but.

"My father often told me that money would set me free/If I would murder that dear little miss whose name was Rose Connelly."

Gerson also nails Cash's under the radar classic "Delia's Gone."

"First time I shot her, I shot her in the side/Hard to watch her suffer but with the second shot she died."

On Gentry's mega-60s hit "Ode To Billie Joe," Gerson seamlessly ups the pace. She also does the Louvins proud on the record's opening track, "Butcher Boy."

At the end of the day, Gerson notes proceeds from the record are being donated to several organizations which benefit victims of domestic violence.

Looking for that uncommon holiday stocking stuffer? Gerson's obviously heartfelt project may make Santa cringe. The music lover in us, however, are treated to one of 2011's best kept secrets....

GERSON'S backing band for 'Deceived' included Lance Doss (guitars); Bryan Isaacs (bass); Phil Cimino (drums); Suzzy Roche (backing vocals); and the late Jack Rose (guitar)....

DECEIVED comes on the heels of Gerson's 2010 release "This Can't Be My Life." Her past records can be discovered at:

Gerson's impressive resume includes an opening set for Dave Matthews and the Indigo Girls. She's also performed on the "Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien..."

IN next week's Lane, we spotlight Glen Campbell's final studio recording "Ghost on the Canvas," yet another brilliant piece of work from the 75-year-old country/pop artist recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease....

KENNY Chesney and Tim McGraw are reuniting for the "Brothers of the Sun Tour" next summer. The duo who first toured together in 2001, have already scheduled 19 dates, including a June 30 stop at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. Chesney and McGraw will also play Browns Stadium in Cleveland, though an exact date has yet to be announced...

The tour opens June 2 at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium and concludes Aug. 25 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass....

"Our friendship was forged on the road, so it's going to be a blast heading out with Kenny again," McGraw explained. "We'll be having as much fun onstage as the fans will be having in the stadiums..."

TONIGHT at Pittsburgh's Club Cafe, Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones play an over-21 show. Doors open at 7 with music starting an hour later....

SINGER-songwriter Raul Malo, former frontman for the Mavericks, kicks off the holidays Dec. 1 with a Christmas show at Club Cafe....

Gibson may be reached at



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