From “Dirty Linen” October/November 2006 Magazine Review
Every half a decade or so, enigmatic Sonoma County folk-rock combo the Ruminators releases another sterling batch of songs, the latest of which is Loomings. The band’s spare, ethereal sound hangs on the distinctive voices of the two lead singers. Songwriter-guitarist Greg Scherer’s raspy whisper and Jennifer Goudeau’s more conventional alto provide striking contrast and blend beautifully. The group’s instrumental arrangements are subtle and varied, mixing cello, violin, accordion, and piano with guitars and percussion, augmented sparingly by notable guests such as guitarists Steve Kimock and Nina Gerber. With the exception of a gorgeous cover of Kate Wolf’s “Unfinished Life,” the songs on Loomings are all by Scherer, and they are striking compositions that evoke mystery, quiet open spaces, and longing. The timeless, distinctive music on Loomings casts a spell well worth falling under. (MP) (end)
This is the 3rd CD by The Ruminators and the longest “in-the-works,” spanning the last year of the 20th century through ‘05. It is their 1st full-blown studio effort, and this time featuring keyboardist/accordionist, Ron Stinnett on piano. The songs vary from the quiet acoustic jazz of “In This Moment,” to the psychedelic folk of “Fall Back Down,” “Where Were You” and “Meaning Of Life.” Other songs like “Words” hark back to Sandy Denny-era Fairport Convention. In the making of this CD, other musicians from the SF North Bay were recruited: singer-songwriter Kate Wolf accompanist and much celebrated guitarist, Nina Gerber, contributed acoustic guitar (playing Wolf’s old Martin) and electric leads on “Unfinished Life.” On the opening track “Meaning Of Life,” guitarist, Steve Kimock (alumnus of the Grateful Dead’s first post-Garcia incarnation “The Other Ones”) plays electric slide guitar. Rising star Jesca Hoop sings on the Leonard Cohen influenced “In The Middle Of” as well as a soulful last verse on “Meaning Of Life.”
An illustration by Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) an American artist born in Tarrytown, New York graces tne cover of the cd booklet. The image is from the 1st chapter of Moby Dick entitled “Loomings.” Inside and out are photographs of coastal and bay scenes of Northern California taken by Greg Scherer.
The Ruminators during this recording were primarily group founder/singer/songwriter Greg Scherer/guitars & vocals; long-time female lead singer, Jennifer Goudeau/vocals; Ron Stinnett/keyboards and accordion; Jeff Martin/acoustic & electric bass, cellos, keyboards & drum programming, Dan Ransford and Jonathan Brown on drums & percussion. Other players include SF musicians: David Phillips/pedal steel guitar and Paul Scriver/Moog synthesizer and from Sonoma County: Terry Ann Gillette/violin; Kevin Russell/electric guitar & banjo and Peter Van Gorder/drums.
Upon multiple listenings this collection of songs will grow and slowly reveal its original melodes, subtle shifting textures and gentle interplay of acoustic and electric instruments, making it their most sophisticated and cohesive work to date.
The Ruminators’ origin is Sonoma County “a semi-rural area north of San Francisco known for its redwoods, vineyards, cow-flecked hills and rugged coastline. Founded in 1989, they have established a devoted and appreciative following in their home base as well as made converts among the unsuspecting in their travels.