The iconic songwriter Tom Waits will turn 70 on Dec. 7, and Dualtone Records has put together a special record for the occasion. "Come on Up to the House: Women Sing Waits," due out Nov. 22, features a dozen Waits tracks performed by female artists, with renowned musician/author Warren Zanes as producer.
Tribute albums often are hit-and-miss affairs, but an early listen here suggests "Women Sing Waits" is solid from start to finish. That said, one track in particular knocked us off our tracks, and it’s by an Austin artist. Patty Griffin sings "Ruby’s Arms," the last track on Waits’ 1980 album "Heart Attack and Vine." It sounds like a song Waits made especially for Griffin, like a song she was born to sing.
RELATED: Our 2016 interview with Patty Griffin
Dualtone has put the track up on YouTube in advance of the album’s release. You can hear it here:
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Griffin, who’ll be the special guest of Kelly Wilis and Bruce Robison for their annual Holiday Shindig at the Paramount Theatre on Dec. 14, offered the following thoughts about the song:
"I love ‘Ruby’s Arms’ because it makes me think of people in my family. I started singing it years ago because of that, and it moves me in a way that helps me to look a little deeper at what might be thought of as weakness in someone. I do think there are good-hearted people everywhere that don’t know how to stay within the bounds of what is considered normal life, who for whatever reason feel frightened and suffocated in one place for too long even if that place is where love is — like it’s protection of their real nature to keep moving and have the solitude of being a stranger wherever they are. To me this is a strong and compassionate story about that struggle."
Here’s the full tracklist for the album:
Joseph, "Come on Up to the House"
Aimee Mann, "Hold On"
Phoebe Bridgers, "Georgia Lee"
Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer, "Ol’ 55"
Angie McMahon, "Take It With Me"
Corinne Bailey Rae, "Jersey Girl"
Patty Griffin, "Ruby’s Arms"
Rosanne Cash, "Time"
Kat Edmonson, "You Can Never Hold Back Spring"
Iris DeMent, "House Where Nobody Lives"
Courtney Marie Andrews, "Downtown Train"
Wild Reeds, "Tom Traubert’s Blues"