Welsh singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Georgia Ruth releases her new album Fossil Scale, on October 7, 2016. The record is the follow up to 2013’s Welsh Music Prize winning Week Of Pines – a feat Ruth never imagined she’d achieve for her critically acclaimed, bilingual debut album. The record prompted the Guardian to call her ‘one of the British folk discoveries of the year’ and Georgia went on to be twice nominated in the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, in addition to radio support across Radio 1 and 6 Music.
Fossil Scale was written in Caernarfon, a port town in North Wales blessed with space, tranquillity and a scenic landscape that Ruth, at the time, called home. The surroundings were as much of an influence as the hours of Beck, Radiohead and Bowie she was putting in during that spell of writing. With her go-to writing tool switching from harp to piano and striving for a more expansive yet ambient sound, Georgia headed into the familiar setting of Snowdonia’s Bryn Derwen Studio in January 2015 to lay down the foundations of what would become her second album.
However, 5 days into sessions, the studio was sold meaning recording time became split between studios in London and Cardiff – in the case of the latter, friends and collaborators Manic Street Preachers’ Faster Studios. The album was finally pieced together in Mwnci Studios, co-produced with Italian producer Marta Salogni (Phil Selway, Eliot Sumner) and long-time collaborator David Wrench (Caribou, Bat For Lashes) some 11 months after those initial sessions began.
During that 11-month period of recording, Ruth relocated from Caernarfon to Cardiff. This is something she considers pivotal to the album’s development: “I think I was almost too happy in Caernarfon”, explains Ruth, “and happiness can drive you a little bit insane”. The comparative clamour of city life prompted those songs written in the quiet of Caernarfon to take on a whole different life, mirroring Georgia’s own move and shifting into very different beings themselves.
Thus, Fossil Scale is a marked progression in song-writing and style. Where the previous focus had been her trusty harp, the new LP heavily features keys, synths, guitars, layered recorders and, following an introduction to Hindustani classical music during time spent in India, the sarangi. Songs like Good Milk and the album’s title track represent this increased instrumentation and layering, allowing them to veer away from the traditional folk stylings of tracks like Grand Tour and the songs that made up 2013 debut.
Ruth dips into her native Welsh language on a cover of her fellow countryman Meic Stevens’ Sylvia, whilst her school-pal and fellow Nick Drake obsesser Meilyr Jones sings on the title track, The Doldrums and When I Was Blue. Both the Welsh language and the camaraderie amongst Welsh musicians are two of Ruth’s principle values which she is able to deploy in her weekly 3-hour music show for BBC Cymru, the BBC’s Welsh-speaking radio arm.
Fossil Scale is an album that captures Georgia’s transition as a songwriter; her move from relative quiet to city bustle; her much valued Welsh heritage and her eagerness to experiment. Most exciting above all for Georgia Ruth is, after the success of her debut, it’s an album that has a waiting audience.