Whenever a German band attempts to tap into the Americana spirit, more often than not it’s a schizophrenic endeavor. Country, Blues, and Folk are, in spite of this, a part of the early German immigrants. Even those who were either born to late and/or on the wrong side of the Atlantic are able to understand the spirit from which these genres stem from, which has nothing to do with country of origin. Their music comes from the desire of freedom, without being bound to the unfortunate reality of the real world.
The Ruby Sea, were named after one of the best albums ever made by the American band Thin White Rope. Formed in January 2002 by Erwin Zißelsberger, Eugen Kern-Emden and Karin Reuter. With their enthusiasm for traditional song writing, which previous endeavors had lacked, proved to bet he uniting factor, which fostered a desire to try something different. After a lineup change on bass and piano The Ruby Sea is at last complete and satisfyingly casted with Till Ortner and Lutz Pape respectively.
The Ruby Sea’s songs are composed like a theatrical journey through the mind, a musical pendant to movies like »Paris, Texas« by Wim Wenders or books like »Tortilla Flat« by John Steinbeck. Subject matters that range from the search for endless love, self-discovery, to fears about murder and all the many secret things about heaven and earth that will be questioned indefinitely.
One of the largest influences is idyllic Americana culture, musicians such as Ryan Adams (Whiskeytown) or Mark Olson (Jayhawks, Creekdippers), whom with their art, present an opposing view to that of the imperialistic America of G.W. Bush. Music aside, writers (like the aforementioned) Steinbeck or modern authors like Douglas Coupland and T.C. Boyle have made a lasting impression as well. These musicians and authors succeed in the telling of people that are both: »normal« on one end and often bizarre or absurd — more real than reality — on the other.
The songs of Zißelsberger and Kern-Emden work like that, a clear structure on one hand, tricky in musical and word composition on the other, the more often you hear the more interesting it gets.
Another big influence on the two songwriters is the traditional songwriting of wandering folk-musicians like Cisco Houston and Woody Guthrie, who during their respective eras, were critical of politics in their lyrics and brought about changes in mainstream society with their music. A contemporary example would be bands like Wilco that open themselves to the ever expanding definition of rock, refusing to be pigeonholed as any one particular genre.
The Ruby Sea find the beauty in everyday life in their music and words, the purity of transience, the spectacular in conformity, like a flower that blooms in the desert. The music breathes the spirit of freedom, simulates openness without being bound to any one thing. There is no fear of kitsch or pathos, which is disarmed through the clearness of the words. This is the search for subjective privacy. It’s the destiny of the individual that on the whole make a mirror of society.
The Ruby Sea isn’t easy to satisfy, music alone isn’t good enough. They seek endlessly to perfect the balance between what happens on stage to what happens behind studio walls. Within this context appearance, clothing, stage presence, lyrical content, and even graphics play an integral role. The Ruby Sea should be seen as an entity that is larger than just a rock band.