Things That Strangers Say (2001)

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In 2001 the album Things That Strangers Say was released as a solo album by Richard Ruane. Some excerpts from reviews include:


"The solo debut from Richard Ruane is a collection of songs that quickly become like good friends upon first meeting. Ruane is adept at the fine art of storytelling put to song, whether it’s about the down-and-out, leaving one’s homeland, or a dark encounter in a Dublin park. His originals speak to different shades of love, joy, mystery and real life. Ruane’s voice has a soothing quality — at times plaintive, at times mirthful, but always expressive. Ruane plugs into his soul’s emotions to bring forth well-crafted songs that speak a universal language, and linger for a long time." Terry Lickona - No Depression

"Richard Ruane’s album Things That Strangers Say is a very likable piece of acoustic music. His storytelling is honest and poignant, and he turns a good lyric. Ruane’s songs are his own and they will captivate acoustic songwriting fans. Things That Strangers Say is a solid group of well-crafted songs, lyrically clear and vocally strong. Steve Lemcke - The Burlington Free Press

“Things That Strangers Say is a stirring collection of tracks with pristine clarity and warmth. Ruane is a storyteller with a gift for place and character. Keenly observant, he builds a song from a town wino who’s “better known than our senators, congressman or mayor”; from the satisfaction of a good coffee shop; and from love, life, death, people and places on the road. Though many of the 15 songs here favor minor chords and slower tempos, Ruane picks it up occasionally, and is not without humor. You’ve got to love a folkie who can make fun of folkies.” Pamela Poulston – Seven Days

"Love the disc, very well done, some great backing talent, but what carries it for me is the writing, and your strong vocals! It will be getting some serious play. Thanks for sending your work, it's Great!" — Chris Darling, host of Us Folk on WMPG

“I think the thing that strikes me about your material is that it is not simply written, but crafted, using not only the richness of the lyrics but also the intricacies of the music to complement the songs.” — Wanda Fischer, host of The Hudson River Sampler on WAMC


About the CD:

All songs (except Crazy Man Michael) are written by Richard Ruane, copyright Okey Dokey Folkie Music (BMI), all rights reserved. Please do not reproduce these without express written permission.


Click on a song title to read the lyrics (you'll need Acrobat Reader)

1. Don’t You Trust Me
RR – vocals, guitar. Rachel Bissex – vocals. Mitch Barron – bass.
This song was written after a friend heard Old Lovers and said, “Didn’t you have any really bad relationships?” Only one I can think of, but at least I got a song out of it.

2. Old Lovers
RR – vocals, guitar. Louise Taylor – vocals. Mitch Barron – bass.

3. Milk, No Sugar
RR – vocals, mandolin. Moira Smiley – vocals. Michael Corn – guitar. Ron Rost – bass.
The refrain for this song was originally from a play I was writing about a bus trip from London to Athens (stopping at the highway cafés figured prominently). When I started frequenting the Middlebury Coffeehouse (alas, now defunct), the refrain came back to me and I wrote the rest of the song around it.

4. A Heart That’s Open Wide
RR – vocals, guitar. Pete Sutherland – fiddle. Mitch Barron – bass.

5. Light of the World
RR – vocals, guitar. Jennifer Kimball – vocals. Mitch Barron – bass.

6. Joy That Carries Me
RR – vocals, guitar. Moira Smiley – vocals. Su White – vocals. Beth Duquette – vocals. Pete Sutherland – fiddle. Peter Engisch – piano. Mitch Barron – bass.
My own “Ode to Joy.” A few people have asked me for the chords for this song; it’s one of my simplest. The verses start out with GDC CDG a couple times, then switch to GDC GDC GDC, then the refrain is CDG repeated four times.

7. Rapid City
RR – vocals, guitar.
This is my token DADGAD tuning song on the CD. Shortly after I wrote this, I sent a recording to my brother Tom. When I talked to him next, he told me he really liked the song, but had no idea what it was about. I offered to tell him, but he said, “Don’t do that!” So, more info on request.

8. Boston
RR – vocals, guitar. Patti Casey – vocals. Viveka Fox – fiddle. Mitch Barron – bass.
This song is about leaving the US once, with no clear concept about when or if I’d be coming back.

9. Bartender
RR – vocals, mandolin. Michael Chorney – vocals. Michael Corn – guitar. Peter Engisch – piano. Ron Rost – bass.

10. Behind the Houses
RR – vocals, mandolin. Olaf Fub – electric guitars. Mitch Barron – bass.

11. George
RR – vocals, guitar, mandolin. Michael Chorney – vocals. Pete Sutherland – fiddle. Mitch Barron – bass.

12. Not That Man
RR – vocals, guitar. Mitch Barron – bass.

13. Dublin
RR – vocals, mandolin, guitar, banjo. Susan Reit – recorder. Mitch Barron – bass.

14. Crazy Man Michael by Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick
RR – vocals, mandolin. Patti Casey – vocals. Viveka Fox – fiddle. Mitch Barron – bass.

15. Playing the Label in Waltz Time
RR – Thorens TD 280 turntable
Properly called a run-off track. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

16. Well-Meaning Folks With Guitars
RR – vocals, guitar.
This was going to be a hidden track. It probably should have been. It was written after hearing a chance comment at a national Folk Alliance conference.