Ruth Gerson will release “Deceived” (WRONG Records) on May 17th, 2011. A selection of traditional, country and folk songs, ranging from ancient to modern, about “the bad things that can happen to ‘bad girls,’” the album was produced by five-time Grammy-nominated producer Rick Chertoff (Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, The Band) and William Wittman (Too Much Joy). “Deceived” features guest performances by Suzzy Roche (The Roches) and Byron Isaacs (Ollabelle), as well as some of the last recordings by guitarist Jack Rose, who passed away in 2009. Proceeds from “Deceived” will be donated to several organizations that benefit victims of domestic violence.*
“‘Deceived’ travels through time reflecting images of a society that tolerates domestic violence as part of its fabric,” says Gerson. “Not that society agrees, but it is resigned to it to the extent that it is sung about, often cheerfully. Many of the songs are murder ballads about men killing women; but, notably, the two songs we know are written by women (Bobbie Gentry and Dolly Parton), the woman lives in these songs, but her baby dies. The stories suggest that women are punished for stepping outside the sexual morality of their community. You might think of them as ‘birth-control songs.’” The album features eleven tracks, including “Knoxville Girl,” “Omie Wise,” “Little Sadie,” “Mary From the Wild Moor,” “Butcher Boy,” “Ode To Billie Joe,” “Delilah,” “Down From Dover,” “Banks of the Ohio,” “Delia’s Gone” and “Down In The Willow Garden.”
Acclaimed author and rock critic Greil Marcus has praised the album: “It’s a real 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.”
Gerson mentions, “Aside from some minor additional lyrics and melodies, these are not my compositions, however ‘Deceived’ is a culmination of much of my life experiences. I lived in a violent environment. In college, I studied ethics and violence. My senior thesis was a reconstruction of the feminine in Emmanuel Levinas’ ‘Totality and Infinity,’ post-Holocaust thought which discusses the ‘impossibility of murder.’ The list of songs that could have been included on this album goes on, but we found a way for these eleven to hang together, similar to the way a visual artist might cut photographs of historical moments and create a collage that speaks out. The album is deceptively listenable, though the stories of the songs are difficult to hear.
“Rick, Bill (the producers) and I often spoke about the auditory goals of ‘Deceived.’ Rick wanted the listener to be attracted to the songs, to be hypnotized by them 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. Bill had the eagle eye and ear on making sure all the sounds were right. We were fortunate to have a core group -- Phil Cimino (drums), Lance Doss (guitars), and Byron Isaacs (bass) -- who were able to take the talking we did in the control room and make it all sing. And we were blessed to have Suzzy (Roche) on ‘Banks’ and Jack Rose whose picking captured and transported us to another time on ‘Omie Wise’ and ‘Little Sadie.’”
*One hundred percent of the artist proceeds from digital downloads of “Deceived” will be donated to several organizations that benefit victims of domestic violence, including Sanctuary For Families (NYC), Shalom Bayit (San Francisco), The Elizabeth House (Oakland), the AVON Foundation (Speak Out!), and The Family Violence Prevention Fund. (Gerson asks listeners to consider making donations directly to the not-for-profits and in return receive hard copies of “Deceived” as a gift. Donating directly to the organizations guides all of the purchaser’s dollar towards aid.)
Ruth Gerson has appeared on the " Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” PBS, Showtime, HBO and Lifetime television. She has opened for Dave Matthews Band, the Indigo Girls, Suzanne Vega, and comedian Steven Wright. An acclaimed vocal coach, Gerson has taught singing and songwriting as a Forbes College Fellow at Princeton University and The Blue Bear School of Music. She in the inventor of the SingingbeltTM, the first device created to train singers in diaphragmatic breath control. Her latest album, “This Can’t Be My Life,” was released in July 2010 and garnered praise from the San Francisco Chronicle (“an underground songwriting master”), the San Jose Mercury News (“a rock-pop masterpiece”), and Highwire Daze (“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.’”).
“With a voice that rises from tender endearments to a bluesy, impassioned growl, Ruth Gerson sings songs that reach for the status of anthems; she’s a Bob Dylan fan who can be as conversational as Alanis Morissette or as galvanic as Bruce Springsteen.”
-- Jon Pareles, The New York Times
“…a cross between Natalie Merchant and Patti Smith with a dash of the youthful Grace Slick thrown in for spice... a bracing mixture of defiance and open-heartedness and a songwriting talent that is arresting.”
-- Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“With a huge, flawless voice she makes her ideas sing, and every word is welded to the beat.”
-- The Village Voice
“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.”
“Gerson writes songs that combine an almost revolutionary political passion with a wry intellectual sensibility.”
-- Interview Magazine