"With a voice that rises from tender endearments to a bluesy, impassioned growl, Ruth Gerson sings folk-rock songs that reach for the status of anthems; she's a Bob Dylan fan who can be as galvanic as Bruce Springsteen."
Jon Pareles, The New York Times
"Powerful. Ruth Gerson plumb(s) the depths of both love and violence with a clear and empathetic eye. A collection of murder ballads" transforming gruesome crimes into the stuff of legend" Deceived is a beautiful record. You could listen to it while eating dinner by candlelight. Gerson keeps her powerful voice whispery and calm for these renditions, and the production, by Rick Chertoff and William Wittman, aims for sweetness and light. The effect is to cast new light on familiar song... [Gerson] show(s) up their misogyny while also admitting their allure."
Ann Powers, The Record, NPR
"A 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."
Greil Marcus, Believer Magazine's Real Life Top Ten
"Ruth Gerson is a sensitive woman with a whale of a rock 'n' roll voice. The Manhattan native... remains an underground songwriting master on her latest album!"
David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle
One of "25 Women To Watch."
Rob O'Connor, Yahoo Music
"Singer-songwriter Ruth Gerson is a creative artist who remains true to her art. Her stirring voice and dramatically charged songs exude an emotional power reminiscent of Carole King, Laura Nyro, Maria McKee, Tori Amos and, most recently, Nicole Atkins... her Americana "Deceived" CD, [is] one of the most unique and compelling cover albums you"ll ever hear... the yet-to-be-released "This Can't Be My Life's [is] a rock-pop masterpiece, offers riveting original songs. The melodies instantly grab hold and the lyrics sear with insight."
Paul Freeman, San Jose Mercury News
"An expressive, insightful singer/songwriter who's been honing her skills over the course of a handful of albums, Ruth Gerson stands poised to expand her listening audience with her new full-length "Wake To Echo" (produced by John Cale collaborator Lance Doss & Ruth Gerson) in stores now. A stylistic triumph of exuberant performance and solid songcraft, this should be the record to put Ruth Gerson on the musical map. Though she's already a European sensation and a top draw in her own NYC, intricate and rewarding tracks like "Where You Gonna Run To Maryjane?" will open the rest of our ears as well."
"If forced to describe Ruth Gerson, a singer and songwriter from New York, in 25 words or less, one could call her a...cross between Natalie Merchant and Patti Smith with a dash of the youthful Grace Slick thrown in for spice. Ms. Gerson...has received the sort of heady word of mouth that young performers dream of. In her performance at the tiny east village club, she exuded a bracing mixture of defiance and open-heartedness and a songwriting talent that is arresting. ...Although her songs have literary echoes (Calypsos and Widows' most obviously, with its reference to "The Odyssey") most are far from bookish. In a characteristic lyric, the singer faces down a miserable, scary world by declaring her feelings firmly and in a style that avoids the wispier, more ethereal side of folk music. "Evil Sex Queen" one of the two strongest numbers she performed on Friday, is a full-tilt, blues-flavored harangue against the poisonous stereotyping of women in music videos. The more reflective "Roof jumping," confronts suicide and a family plagued with alcoholism and drug addiction. [In] "Evil Sex Queen," which rides along on a twangy "Peter Gunn"-like beat, [Gerson] displayed a stamina that found her confidently treading the line between folk and rock."
Stephen Holden, The New York Times
"She's really cool!"
David Wiegand, NPR (KQED)
"Inhabiting the spirits of her forebears, a dying father, Leonard Cohen, God, then giving voice to Shona Bailey, a young woman murdered in Harlem whose voice was never heard, Ruth Gerson plays a big wash of sound and fury; with a huge, flawless voice she makes her ideas sing, and every word is welded to the beat. Catch her at a small venue while you can."
The Village Voice, VOICE CHOICES
"Potent...Gerson is fast becoming one of the most talked about singer-songwriters in town, thanks to her ability to offset satire with pathos."
The New Yorker
"The New Poet of Rock."
Leesa Chalk, Elle Magazine
"As impressive a singer/songwriter as any this critic has encountered in several years... I was grabbed first by the purity, suppleness and strength of her voice... and then by the vividness of her lyrics. An unusual talent to be sure and one I'm very much looking forward to hearing again."
Chip Deffaa, The New York Post
"Gerson imbues every one of these chilling songs with a quiet beauty and a comforting tone that belies the terrifying reality... [she] understands the dichotomy and embraces it in this collection of murder ballads, the proceeds of which go to groups that benefit victims of domestic violence."
Nate Dow, Boston Herald
"An impressive set of pipes."
"Ruth Gerson made her recording debut in 1995 with a low-budget concert album, "Very Live!" that captured the fire of her shows. Four albums and almost a decade later, the New York-based singer/songwriter has developed a more sophisticated sound while retaining the cathartic appeal that made her so compelling in the first place. Her latest album, "Wake to Echo" (Near Mint Recording Co.), is full of subtly hypnotic ballads and sprinkled with bursts of passion. Songs like "I Wanna Know" and "Keep You Warm" are so intense they seem more suited to arenas than coffeehouses.
Jay Lustig, The Star - Ledger
"Used to be that any song that had "Mary Jane" in the title had a "special" meaning. The 60's are long gone, but if "Where You Gonna Run To Mary Jane" isn't about smoking reefer, it's nevertheless got a gritty, folk-rock edge that suggests the dark side of the street, where fallen angels tread. Wake To Echo showcases Ruth Gerson's voice, a wild-honeyed alto reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde and, even more so, Martha Davis of the Motels... Gerson and co-producer Lance Doss know how to set a mood: "I'll Wait" shifts between jaded heartbreak and soaring hopefulness. And "Sarah and Yukel" bears an elegant, harrowing lyric: "You sleep and hear her laughing / Her face a perfect rose.... You hold on strong to the stranger in your arms and she burns and she burns and she burns...." Gerson's a fine, idiosyncratic talent, and her work, like certain illicit substances of days gone by, offers enlightenment and pleasure to a discerning few.
"In recent years, the persona of the female singer-songwriter has pretty much run the entire spectrum: from Alanis Morissette's rage to Sheryl Crow wanting to have some fun, from Tori Amos' histrionics to Fiona Apple's image as a doe-eyed chanteuse. So where does that leave Ruth Gerson? She stands apart from all those women in that each of them has represented a uni-dimensional, almost cartoonish stereotype, while Gerson presents a fully-realized person capable of many moods, ideas and sounds. The closest modern comparison would probably be Sarah McLachlan, but Joni Mitchell really comes closer. If it's artistry you're looking for, examine "Roof Jumping" or "Shoah"; if it's depth you're looking for, check into her lyrics, which are impossible to see directly through (and this is only her first album, for Pete's sake). Fools and Kings was masterfully produced by Don Dixon (we heard that Dixon was contracted to record the usual four-song demo, but liked what he heard so much that he signed on for the entire project). There are leaders and there are followers, and there's no denying which category Ruth Gerson falls under. Hear her now, or hear her later; either way you'll hear her and you'll be moved."
CMJ New Music Report (JACKPOT! Pick)
"If you mix the powerful bite of You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette with the longing wisdom of Joni Mitchell's Blue, you're only just beginning to understand the dark artistry of This Can't Be My Life. ..A mesmerizing work that will astound all listeners who desire their music to be thoughtful and challenging."
Kenneth Morton, Highwire Daze
"With the release of her first album in five years, the strong-voiced Gerson has something fresh to give fans. The powerful batch of folky rock includes confessional lyrics and capable electric guitar work courtesy of John Cale collaborator/guitarist Lance Doss. On the striking "Calypso and Widows,"ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃƒâ€šÃ‚Ã‚ÂÂ when Gerson sings, "She's living desperately / Like a mountain, falling, longing to be seen" in reference to a lonely widow, she sounds almost as anguished as her subject. Other bright spots include "Where You Gonna Run to Maryjane", "You Called It Right"ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃƒâ€šÃ‚Ã‚ÂÂ and the touching "Sorry." For Fans of: Shawn Colvin A Few Small Repairs, Paula Cole This Fire, Fiona Apple Tidal
HJ, Performing Songwriter
"Ruth Gerson's "Fools and Kings" may be one more self-released album from yet another obscure singer-songwriter, but it has several important things going for it. For one thing, 10 of the 13 tracks were produced by former R.E.M. helmsman Don Dixon who gives the arrangements a tough, wiry muscle. For another, Gerson herself has a marvelous voice, full of sultry blues inflections and rock 'n roll power. The New York native alternates sharp observations with literary gestures [and] shows the potential for growing into her considerable talent. When she sticks to pop basics of lust and heartbreak on songs such as 'Maybe Its You' and 'Weakest Link in the Chain', she's already quite impressive."
Geoffrey Himes, The Washington Post
"A native of New York City and a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton, Gerson writes songs that combine an almost revolutionary political passion with a wry intellectual sensibility. In the raucous 'Evil Sex Queen', Gerson lampoons rampant sexism in the media, tearing through a litany of chauvinistic misperceptions of women: 'With wet tits and love lips she'll dominate the male sex/ You better watch your back before this bitch attacks.' Gerson's goal as a singer is not to lecture but to connect with audiences through humor and humility... Here's hoping that such simple honesty lands the unsigned Gerson a not-so-humble record contract in the near future."
Peter Galvin, Interview Magazine
"Bloody good stuff... Singer-songwriter Ruth Gerson is plumbing the depths of one of American's music most quirky, morbid genres."
Baltimore Jewish Times
"Girls on fire: Death don't have no mercy for Ruth Gerson on her themed set 'Deceived.' Think a burnished, bluesy singer rejuvenating classic folk sagas about women on their way to the grave - from 'Delia's Gone' to 'Knoxville Girl' and 'Ode to Billie Joe.' Rick Chertoff (producer of Cyndi Lauper's and Joan Osborne's big hits) and William Wittman produced the set in fresh, stripped-down fashion."
Philadelphia Daily News
"Lush...Full, rich sound...Universally appealing... She is blessed with a set of pipes and knows how to use them. Pay attention to the lyrics on this one"
"Gerson makes the kind of music that builds strong bonds with audiences. Many of her songs tell stories and she sings them in a raw, passionate style."
Jay Lustig, NJ Star Ledger
Kris Littman, Fearless Radio
"Blood-stained ballads - A new take on timeless material...Gerson's silky but angst-ridden voice ties the proceedings together... These are lovely songs, beautifully sung, about horrible things, brutally done."
"Ruth Gerson isn't afraid to 'go there.' Her angst-ridden latest release, 'Deceived,' is giving voice to the victims who don't always speak up."
Yahoo's Stop the Presses
"A remarkable album...Ruth Gerson made a triumphant return from a six year hiatus with 'This Can't Be My Life.' Thankfully she didn't make us wait nearly as long for 'Deceived.' Gerson boldly shines a light on one of society's ills - there isn't a misstep to be found."
Jeffery Sisk, McKeesport (PA) Daily News (4 stars)
"A collection of songs, ranging from ancient to modern, about 'the bad things that can happen to bad girls.' Ruth's last album, 'This Can't Be My Life' contained plenty of evidence that she can identify with the wrongs dealt out to and suffered by women. Highlights include a slightly-speedier-but-still-spooky cover of Bobbie Gentry's 'Ode to Billie Joe,' the somehow familiar 'Delilah' and the pointedly brutal opener, 'Butcher Boy."
Ricky Flake, Biloxi Sun Herald (4 stars)
"Enter the extraordinarily talented, emotionally intelligent Ruth Gerson whose album "Deceived" is a collection of murder ballads about violence against women and women's violent lives. Here, the fugitive emotions and ambiances of a haunted, evil legacy are brought out in songs that often were originally sung by men. She is at once understated and emotional in her delivery ... She gives the lyrics to 'My Delilah' the sinister, haunting treatment they deserve...The song 'Down from Dover' is downright gothic and creepy. The cumulative effect of this album is to resurrect the ghosts and give voice to the spirits of generations of silenced women. More than a concept album, it is an important historical document."
"'Deceived' is ironically soothing - Gerson's smokey, often sultry, always soulful voice reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, Natalie Merchant and Patti Smith, delivers a sincere urgency... There is a peace to the music which belies the often lurid lyrics. Gerson has an inviting, evocative voice, a pure, uncomplicated style, [and] a powerful and timely message."
Greg Williams, Innocent Words Magazine
LEGIT DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK Billboard.com regularly offers a handful of downloads, and this week's champ is New York singer/songwriter Ruth Gerson's "Where You Gonna Run to Maryjane."
Las Vegas Murcury