Righteous Babe Announces the Signing of Ruth Theodore

Righteous Babe Announces the Signing of Ruth Theodore

British alt-folk artist Ruth Theodore today announces her signing to Righteous Babe Records and shares the bittersweet new single "Hold on Me."

Listen to the single here. 

Alongside this single, Theodore also announces her upcoming album I Am I Am, which will be released on May 3rd. Preorder now available here. 

The playful defiance in Theodore’s early albums soon caught the ear of acclaimed American folksinger Ani DiFranco, which led to invitations for Ruth to appear as special guest for Ani on multiple London shows. After receiving a preview on the tour bus, it was immediately clear that DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records would be the perfect home for Theodore's next joyfully rebellious album release.

"The last time I played the London Palladium, Ruth was on the bill with me. I watched from the wings and was inspired by her authenticity, her connection with my audience, and her free artistic spirit. That night I saw her as a true Righteous Babe. Last fall, when she reached out with her new album, it seemed the perfect time to reunite and help introduce her to North America.” — Ani DiFranco

The roots of Theodore’s career stretch back to open-air busking on the streets of southern England, and she wrote her earliest albums during a seven-year period when she lived alone on a boat without electricity. At the whims of the weather and awaking with the birds, she developed a unique sensitivity to the world around her. From those days her work has been tied to celebrating the cracks in the concrete and the indefinable nature of nature.  “I think the world around me, my sexuality, my ideas, my work, my place in the world, and us as a human race are shapeshifting constantly.” Echoing the subject of the cover art of I Am I Am, she continues,  “I am always me. Just one starling in the murmuration of life.” The result of this attitude is a sonic outlet of unbounded, intricate compositions that drift through a landscape of folk, jazz, pop, gospel and more. 

“Hold on Me” exudes this approach in a lilting number that reflects on an intense love in the balance. Theodore likening her deep physical urge to be with her lover to the pull of the ocean, all the while acknowledging the bittersweet ultimatums that are beginning to raise their heads. Even as one of her more conventional compositions, “Hold On Me” refuses to be pinned down, drawing in sweet pop amongst blues licks and choral harmonies. The essence of co-producer Todd Sickafoose is also felt throughout the track, with his knack for seamlessly interweaving genres echoing the hallmarks of his production work on Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown. 

I Am I Am will be Theodore’s second outing with the Tony and Grammy Award winning Sickafoose, following Ruth’s popular 2016 album Cactacus. Mathias Kunzli, also returns on drums and percussion for I Am I Am, this time bringing his deft touch as third co-producer.

The release of Cactacus saw Theodore break into more commercial territory, earning rave reviews in mainstream media and music press, ranking #1 in fRoots album of the month, and gaining national airplay on multiple UK radio stations. However, on returning from an EU tour in 2019 Theodore was diagnosed with breast cancer and soon underwent successful chemotherapy treatment that spanned the worst of the pandemic, and beyond. In her hands, this time of healing was an opportunity to channel her energy into what she loves, creating music every day, and the result is a trove of new material.

With I Am I Am, Theodore will reclaim the momentum of Cactacus to deliver a striking moment of personal celebration. A response to this period of reflection that saw her staring down mortality, and ultimately come out the other side having unearthed pain and beauty that delivered an unshakeable new perspective on the precious ‘now’. In her own words, “everything is amazing”.

Hold on Me” is a ‘sibling song’ to Theodore’s 2023 single “Thompson”, which also tackled the theme of intimate disconnect. With today’s release, both singles are packaged on digital streaming sites with the previously-released reflection on vengeance and clarity that was "Full Metal Jacketand the cross section of the current British socio-political landscape that was "People People". Together these four songs offer new audiences a vista that overlooks the breadth of I Am I Am; from playful lust, to illustrations of societal injustice, from warm humor to intimate explorations of loving and being loved.

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