Although the name might not come immediately to mind, you’ve definitely heard Ruby Amanfu’s voice before. The Ghana-born, Nashville-raised singer/songwriter has quickly become a sought-after collaborator for a wide range of artists, including Norah Jones, Hozier, Patti LaBelle, Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes, and so on. Hometown concertgoers may have heard her as the youngest member of the Nashville Symphony Chorus. KCRW fans probably best know her as Jack White’s singing partner on his solo hit, “Love Interruption.” And true eagle-eyed (and eagle-eared) listeners might recall Amanfu backing up former Civil Wars singer Joy Williams on her recent stop on Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Despite these past accolades, her forthcoming solo album is what really excites us. Amanfu tackles a batch of covers (plus one original for good measure) on Standing Still, due out 8/28 on Thirty Tigers/Rival & Co. Records. Recorded live at a secluded log cabin in rural Tennessee, the record features deep cuts from the likes of Bob Dylan, Wilco, Heartless Bastards, Richard Hawley and even Kanye for a fresh, raw album. To top it off, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys stopped by to produce Amanfu’s smoldering version of Brandi Carlile’s “Shadow on the Wall,” for which we are proud to be premiering the video, filmed with a glorious retro patina.
With this new release Ruby Amanfu’s voice is bound to be now forever connected with both a face and a name, along with a reputation as an artist in absolute ascendance.
ERIC J. LAWRENCE