Cactacus

by Ruth Theodore

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about

The fourth full length record from acclaimed musician and songwriter Ruth Theodore. This record is the fruit of a collaboration with producer Todd Sickafoose (Anais Mitchell/Ani Difranco).
Ruth travelled and played her way through California and up into Oregon to work alongside a stellar cast of musicians including organist Rob Burger (Tom Waits, Willie Nelson), percussionist Mathias Kunzli (Regina Spektor, Lauryn Hill), and Violinist Jenny Scheinman (Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed).

“Her new record’s a killer” - fROOTS

credits

released September 23, 2016

Words and music by Ruth Theodore

Produced by Todd Sickafoose

Ruth Theodore: Vocals, Guitar, Slide, Piano, Harmonica
Todd Sickafoose: Double Bass & Electric Bass
Mathias Künzli: Drums & Percussion
Wayne Thompson, Neil Thurston, Jigh Ejakpovi: Backing Vocals
Rob Burger: Organ, Accordion, Fujara
Mike Gamble: Electric Guitar
Jenny Scheinman: Violin
Annissa Olsen: Viola
Kelly Quesada: Cello
Tony Glausi: Trumpet

Recorded by Billy Barnett @ Gung-Ho Studio (Eugene Oregon USA) and Todd Sickafoose @ Earycanal.
Additional recording by Ruth Theodore @ River Rat Records and Duncan Thornley @ Map Studio.
Edited and Mixed by Todd Sickafoose @ Earycanal.
Mastered by Alan Douches @ West West Side Music.

All vocal and string arrangements by Ruth Theodore.
Additional arrangement by Todd Sickafoose.

Copyright River Rat 2016. Released under licence by Aveline Records

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about

Ruth Theodore London

New record 'Cactacus', produced by Todd Sickafoose, release 23rd September 2016!

Ruth taught herself guitar as a busker, going on to share a stage with award winning artists such as Ani Difranco, Chastity Brown, Nick Harper. Releasing 5 records to date receiving high praise from The Guardian, BBC Radio3 & BBC6music.
Ruth can also be found playing crazy eastern european Violin in dark corners.
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Track Name: Buffalo
i saw you there in your fancy dress with your feet on the chair looking bored to death
i had a brand new pocket with the same old holes and i felt like a whale in a goldfish bowl

and i said ‘let’s send a message into space
tell them we need sugar and a bit more bass
come and wipe your smile across my face
‘cause Buffalo you know you love this place

‘cause there’s nothing to do around here but go hanging round the drink like Buffalo
and death is coming for us all with the force of a ten pin bowling ball

so let’s send a message into space
tell them we need sugar and a bit more bass
come and wipe your smile across my face
oh Buffalo i want to take you home’

i said ‘consider this if no-one knows what could be lurking in those shadows...
and resentment grows between the sheets but out in the open nothing keeps

let me lead you astray
yeah me bury you out there
i want to lead you astray
yeah Buffalo i want to take you home’

you said you’d be gone when morning broke and the sun was warm by the time i woke
so with the words left in my throat i wrote you a poem on a ten pound note

it said ‘this is a message into space
to tell them we need sugar and a bit more bass
but just keep that smile upon your face
and Buffalo Buffalo you’re gonna love this place’

------------------------------------

(C&P Ruth Theodore 2015)
Track Name: You Can't Help Who You Love
over loads of under tones pull you into the throws of hopes and dreams and no you can't help who you love despite all your genius when that rooster crows oh heaven knows
you can't help who you love

enter swarms no herds of birds and bees like you wouldn't believe and still the thought of these makes you weak in the knees and her touch could make you blush yeah light up like a lantern cause you can't help who you love

you can't help so you love and you love and you love and you love and you love
so you love and you love and you love and you love

sweeping feelings under rugs and then one day you’re slamming door and passing bucks
just like everyone does and drained as leaves in tea cups you're making up from storms with hugs you can't help who you love

finding lumps in thunderbolts and lightning strikes the grip of a nightmare grasps you tight and life goes bump in the night and its sickness come to frighten us take me take me you’ll beg you’ll plead

you can't help so you love and you love and you love and you love and you love
so you love and you love and you love and you love

finding comfort in strangers voices in angels you’re told you’re too close to turn to and that’s when they hurt you yeah that when they push you away and it’s cruel life and its strength is such you hate its guts you care so much you can't help who you love

and so you nod your head behind the scenes like you know what it all means keep things sterile clean and although you’ve never been one to believe all that new age stuff
you thank your stars that someone does

you can't help so you love and you love and you love and you love and you love
so you love and you love and you love and you love

skin as pale as paper thin that you’re injecting in once glowed now at best you s’pose that you cushion the blows cause you know as well and those drips and drugs that you do not ease it nothing does

day to day dawn to dusk life to death dust to dust
you can't help who you love you can’t help who you love
you just love who you love you just love who you love

so just love who you love
Track Name: Loop Hole
keeping me afloat
is the courage of the ocean
coming on in waves
as i come crashing through this old town
rubbing into trouble
curve of the earth
salt of the sea
lining my pockets
with rubble from the deep
but i’m pacing out my boot soles
living in a loophole

just staring into space
grateful for the stars
that i’m not the only one
shooting in the dark
hanging round in crowds
going round in circles
higher than the houses
happy just to be
drifting through a sea
full of bigger fish than me
while they were swimming round in high schools
i was hiding in the rock pools

now they’re raking in a living
watering the arts
pulling up the flowers
potting up the parks
planting out the people
living in a loophole

now i could fall for your charm
i could dance on your feet
i could stay here in your arms
i could do it in my sleep
but i’m trying to feel the earth spin
higher than the houses
up there with the stars
where i’m not the only one shooting in the dark
so i just kiss you on your big heart
and go back underneath the radar
Track Name: Scavengers
i head back from the firing line
you win this time
but i am indestructible too sunshine
so run rings around me a thousand times
and still the trouble is
you rich kids
you never put your mouths where your money is
all this talk about spines
just to roll up like porcupines

and it’s so absurd
when i feed the birds
you say I'm encouraging the scavengers
but as foragers and gatherers
we should know by now
we're a polished act
that any politician looking too relaxed
behind our backs
is acting like an alley cat fighting over scraps
and when you say scavengers
you mean us buskers and travellers
us daydreamers and imaginers

oh yeah i dream that one of these days
the wolves you’ve raised
are swallowed up by a blaze
of dancing flames

‘cause your fate is in the hands of
of those you think you're better than but
when caught between finger and thumb
i’ll be the one throwing you crumbs

but if i had the time that time affords
i'd be a pretty little body on a body board
bobbing back and forth
wondering what the worry's for
i’d be like “who cares what the trouble is
when the trouble is
where everybody else lives
in the bins and burrows and the bushes?”
but i’m a dab hand where i am
yeah i’m a river rodent with a rowboat tan
and you’re in my home
so you can eat your own words straight off the bone
cause the trouble is you rich kids
you never put your mouths where your money is
all this talk about spines
just to roll up like porcupines

and i dream that one of these days
the wolves you’ve raised
are swallowed up by a blaze
of dancing flames

but would you just listen to us two squabbling birds
fighting over who gets the
final

word
Track Name: The Carcass And The Pride
the land is left with
the stretch marks of a summer that
somewhere far away still beats down upon her
but what’s wrong and right here
is black and white as skin
so if water cleanses us of sin
then it’s a good thing the rain is coming

‘cause i have lived nights not even the cactus could survive
and all the fireflies they were burned alive
now i am the Carcass and you are the Pride
but it was suicide
yeah i am the Carcass and you are the Pride
but it was suicide

so set light to this song
when i’m gone
set light to this song
when i’m gone

beyond the acacia tree
we lie beneath
is the biggest stretch of blue sky i’ve ever seen
but what’s wrong and right here
is black and white as skin
so if water cleanses us of sin
then it’s a good thing the rain is coming

so set light to this song
when i’m gone
set light to this song
when i’m gone
‘cause i am the Carcass and you are the Pride
but it was suicide
yeah i am the Carcass and you are the Pride
but it was suicide

and the land is left with
the stretch marks of a summer that
somewhere far away still beats down upon her
but what’s wrong and right here
is black and white as skin
so if water cleanses us of sin
then it’s a good thing the rain is coming
Track Name: Man Of The Land
a long time ago long before time
God made the earth and God made the sky
He screwed up a newspaper tennis ball tight
named it the Sun and set it alight

and just as the light of the last Day diminished
God made Man in his own image
He blessed the Earth and all that was in it
looked down on his work and declared it was finished

and God gave Man dominion on Earth
gave all of his Creatures hunger and thirst
He put pride in the heart and fear in the herd
He gave Venom to the bite and flight to the Bird

“Oh Lord what do you have for me
wrapped up underneath that apple tree?
give me wings, let me soar
and i’ll be yours forever creator”

but God gave Man the concept of dreaming
opposable thumbs and delicate feelings,
an Imagination fit for believing
and a Sense of his own existential being

“oh thank you” said Man and left with a Smile
and he entertained himself for a while
he made Fire and rhythm and paintings in sand
yeah Man of the Land
his gift on his hands

and Man made a book that spread from village to village
depicting guardian angels in his own image
in his own image except for one thing
fanning out from his spine grew a divine set of Wings.

‘cause when Man saw the Bird and how happy she sings
he made his bed in her feathers and dreamed of her Wings
and made up untold unnecessary things
in search of the Song her happiness sings

“oh Icarus, i’m just like you
never doing what i’m supposed to do.
i make it up half of the time
and soak my feathers, melt my wax
and tear my twine”

but with anchors for ankles Man became bored
so Man made the lock and Man made the door
and Man made the telescope and through it he saw…
more!

so Man made the cockpit and the vacuum tight door
and the radio magnetic indicator
and then defying all standing natural law
he took to the Clouds and beyond them he soared

and saw that by Stars and by Planets
the Sun had been joined
some spun out like spinning tops some
tossed up like coins
into a Galaxy splintered with Light
flung out like a boomerang into the night

oh but up in the sky Bird saw the Man
and saw for herself the hole in his plan
and knew before long he’d be where he belongs
humming his sad and maudlin song

still back to the other Birds she did report
“one of those ‘deep think’ creeps of the crooked claw!
one of them from all-fours up here in the sky
making one of those big bright white ‘stiff bodies’ fly”

And they sang
“why Pegasus its just as well
he can’t get off your carousel
‘cause ever since he left the ground
he’s been up and down and up and down”

so Man made the map and on it he drew
which bits of the Earth were belonging to who
and found in the weak a Spirit so strong
that man made the gun and Man made the bomb

but an eye for an eye and Man began to cry
and through quivering lip gave it one last try
he thrust his arms to the sky and into it he screamed
“WHY?”

and his cry shook the Earth and ruptured the Stone
until out fell the Fossils the Gems and the Bone
that told a story of Time as sad as his own
and for the very first time he did not feel alone

and those Constellations in the dark
started setting of their shooting Stars
saying “we’ve been here right from the start
we’ve been watching over you like Guards”.

and then man heard the distant firing of canons
heard every war cry and every national anthem
and high in the sky the little Bird sing
“if only his maker had given him Wings”
Track Name: Kissing In Traffic
Oh benny bear the soul you cage
there’s barely been a night
i’ve not played a show til late and stayed
awake to watch you drive
so i’m nothing love if not
on your side
through this howling wind that’s travelling
wherever you decide

‘cause i used to live for night life
now there’s nothing quite like
sitting at a red light
caught in your stare
knowing that i’m going nowhere
cause as luck would have it
there’s something magic
about kissing in traffic
so send up a flare
cause i swear we might yeah
we might be getting somewhere

but benny listen to me
i’m still shaking off the mud
from a love that all but buried me
a love that beat me up
but i’ve got nothing love
if not guts
so no howling wind is scaring us
oh come and pick me up

‘cause i used to live for night life
now there’s nothing quite like
sitting at a red light
caught in your stare
knowing that i’m going nowhere
cause as luck would have it
there’s something magic
about kissing in traffic
so send up a flare
cause i swear we might yeah
we might be getting somewhere



‘cause ounce for ounce
it’s the best seat in the house
so pick me up pick me up
yeah and i’ll give it up
sadness can eat my dust
eat my dust eat my dust

(if we’re short of space this could finish here… if not….continue)

Oh benny bear the soul you cage
there’s barely been a night
i’ve not played a show til late and stayed
awake to watch you drive

yeah cause ounce for ounce
it’s the best seat in the house
so pick me up pick me up
yeah and i’ll give it up
sadness can eat my dust
eat my dust eat my dust
Track Name: Wishbone
oh lucky you you lucky charm walking round town with a girl on each arm
dressed to the nines looking alright
yeah lucky you between pendulum beats drifting to sleep with a kiss on each cheek
from two heavy hearts p a c i n g apart
but i see it now how we’ve deepened your frown seems a girl on each arm
can start weighing you down and i’ve got this sinking feeling

that Wishbone you are the one that will be broken
you are the lucky one we’ve both pinned our hopes on
only one of us can win and still we stand to gain
whilst the one we’re prizing open must fracture all the same
and Wishbone
you are the one that will be broken

so set me sail while i’m still taking stock while i’m still sure and still sorry you’re not
before the ink in your skin sets in
yeah set me sail let me slip from your side while it’s all just a dream
while you’re still blurry eyed but it’s so clear that if i stay here

then Wishbone you are the one that will be broken
you are the lucky one we’ve both pinned our hopes on
only one of us can win and still we stand to gain
whilst the one we’re prizing open must fracture all the same
and Wishbone
you are the one that will be broken

but i don’t mind i’ll be here on the side lines
holding my breath too long for you sometimes
i don’t need lines i don’t need rings no
i could own england and still owe you everything
but tonight i’m drunk and i’m seeing double and i’ll scream there’s your trouble
there’s your trouble there’s your trouble there’s your trouble there’s your trouble...

Wishbone you are the one that will be broken
you are the lucky one we’ve both pinned our hopes on
only one of us can win and still we stand to gain
whilst the one we’re fighting over must fracture all the same
and Wishbone you are the one that will be broken
Track Name: Everything Is Temporary
you and me we go up and down
with the pound in this make believe
currency where we are more aloof that we
can afford to be
but investment is a risky thing
when you’re not sure what you’re worth
especially if you do business like me
and feed all your chips to the birds
yeah especially if you do business like me
and feed all your chips to the birds

but oh virtue has its perks but the bubble bursts
eventually everything is temporary

and i see people go around arm in arm
like parts in a machine
and they make each other come
with these lifetime guarantees
but oh you ask anybody over in new orleans
there’s no insurance on our homes and our cars
everything is temporary
there’s no insurance on our homes and our cars
everything is temporary

so don’t say you’re mine ‘cause i want to take you one day at a time
yeah show me that line and
i’ll sign and i’ll sign and i’ll sign and i’ll sign and i’ll sign

i cook you stolen food on this squatted land
with my borrowed time
most of which is deemed a crime in this nation of mine
where my hands have held other’s hands
and i don’t want to know where you’ve been
cause strictly between you and me
everything is temporary
yeah strictly between you and me
everything is temporary