Introducing Sam & Ruby

Sam & Ruby EPI had ME TV (an Austin cable station devoted to music) on during South by Southwest this year, just playing in the background as I was surfing the Internet or something in the living room. Halfway through some song, I realized that I was listening to something very good. I finished the song, then rewound it and dragged housemate Mike into the room and made him watch it, too.

What caught my ear was “What Do I Do Now,” by Sam & Ruby. Had this been written in the 1940s, it might have become a jazz standard. Ruby pours on a sultry vocal on the first verse that grabs the listener immediately. They both sing on the chorus, and their voices are beautiful together.

Sam is from Green Bay and Ruby was born in Ghana. They currently reside in Nashville. Ruby put out a couple of records overseas. That’s about all I know about them.

I bought their EP and gave it several listens. They’re still a little rough around the edges–“Won’t Let You Go” is slight, and “More” has a lovely melody crippled by appallingly bad lyrics–but the good stuff is really good.

Last week they announced that their first album will be coming out this fall. I’m both excited and nervous. If they’ve found the right producer to guide their best instincts and curtail their bad ones, they could be huge. I’ll be buying it as soon as it’s released, and I’ll be crushed if it isn’t very good. Judging by the new material they’ve put up on their MySpace page, though, I think that’s unlikely.

Below I’ve pasted “Heaven’s My Home,” as it’s the only video I could find. It’s a good song, but not what I’d pick to show them off. You’d be better off going to their MySpace page, which, at this moment, will start playing “What Do I Do Now” immediately. Then listen to “The Suitcase Song” and “The Here and the Now.”

Sam & Ruby EP:

Bonus for my fellow cheeseheads: Sam Brooker singing our National Anthem before last year’s Packers-Seahawks playoff game (awesome comeback). And for my Louisiana people, the two of them doing the same number at a Saints game (although some guy named Dan Dyer has lead vocal).


9 Responses to Introducing Sam & Ruby

  1. timo says:

    Did you say some guy named Dan Dyer? It sounds like you have great taste in music, and if you like “What do I do now” by Sam and Ruby, then it’s official. :) Sam and Dan are friends, and Sam and Ruby were an opening act for Dan Dyer on a mini tour they did about a year ago.

    You would probably love Dan Dyer’s music and should go to his Myspace page and give a listen. He is currently opening for The Roots on select House of Blues Shows and is hopefully on his way to the big time.

  2. Jason Austinite says:

    Here’s one of them performing “This I Know”:

  3. Jason Austinite says:

    Oh, by the way, Dan Dyer used to be the lead singer of Breedlove, a popular Austin blues/rock band from the 90’s. I used to go to their shows in high school and college. Dan is an awesome singer.

    Still have an old Breedlove album at home.

  4. Wow–I certainly didn’t think my random aside about Dan Dyer was going to get mentioned by anyone, much less two people. I hope my “some guy” remark didn’t sound snotty–I just meant that I didn’t know who he was.

    I remember Breedlove–I saw their name around town and I think I knew one guy who was a fan. I don’t think I ever saw them play or heard them on the radio, and I think they broke up not all that long after I moved here.

    Timo: Thanks for cluing me in. I’ll check out Dan Dyer later today. Someone who can play on bills with both Sam & Ruby and The Roots sounds intriguing.

  5. […] video just for Gordon of Dan singing the National Anthem with Sam & Ruby, one of Gordon’s semi-recent discoveries that he’s been enamored with.  It’s breathtaking, and it should become a staple of […]

  6. Sue Basko says:

    I love “Suitcase Song” by Sam and Ruby. Such a nice duo! Such good music.

  7. Jeff Bertram says:

    Thanks for posting Dan/Sam/Ruby performing the National Anthem at the Saints game. I think the sound system threw them off a little and I prefer the version they did a couple nights later as an encore at Saxon Pub. So gorgeous.


  8. MaliB says:

    You think “More” has bad lyrics?? Wow…the lyrics are simple and are clear. All songs need not wax eloquent. Some should be to the point. Just my opinion. It’s a beautiful song, music and lyric.

    • “I need more than a casual dating life.” That lyric is clumsy as all get-out.

      Despite my problems with the lyrics, I still think the melody is lovely.

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