Review – Rube & Rake

Album: Leaving With Nothing
Release Date: October 16, 2020
Genre: Folk

Rube & Rake’s new album is what you might expect, but could only really hope for, from the sophomore full-length by the duo from St. John’s. It’s a suitable follow-up to their debut, and one that both fills that one’s shoes and takes them for a purposeful amble through further avenues of gratifying sound and lore, and in a physical sense, geography.

Leaving With Nothing can make you feel nostalgic for Canada, even if you’re already here. The album’s lyrics are replete with references to place within the country: “Alberta in the fall to keep me fed” (“Somewhere”); “You’ll be home, back from Gaspé” (“Lonesome Song”); “Northern Ontario, the breakup came too soon” (“10-33”), etc. And in “Waking For No One,” you can imagine Rube & Rake being that very Maritime band they sing of. In fact, with narrative lyrics along with banjo, fiddle, and frequently fingerpicked guitar, they present as Newfoundland manifested in modern music. This comes through in a folk style that is regularly soft and reflective, like in “Snowing In July,” and at others lively and forward-looking, like in “Crying.” Themes of cold-weather seasons and a longing for home surface on either end of that spectrum and, paired with the warm melodies of the band, create the sensation of being comfortable indoors while falling leaves or flurries cascade just outside the nearest window.

With frosty conditions now actually beginning to settle upon the bulk of the Canadian portion of the globe, I suggest cozying up in a sheltered space of your own, fireplace stoked or blanket laid across your lap and absorbing yourself in this one. The music of Rube & Rake is skilfully consoling, enough to make you feel safe and entertained, wherever you are listening to them.

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