Robyn Ludwick takes a hard look at loneliness on her fifth album This Tall To Ride. With an astute ability to capture slices of life that are real and raw, Ludwick draws you in with well-crafted songs whose hurt, empty, and occasionally seedy, characters (some of which you may not encounter in your daily circle) are ultimately people who share a deep, yet common, need.
Opening with the hazy guitar riffs of “Love You For It,” Ludwick (who vocally recalls a combo of Williams, Nicks, and Crow), at once urgent and pleading asks, "Come back baby tell me, tell me have you ever been lonely.” Desolation, desperation, and drugs permeate the mid-tempo “Rock N Roll Shoes” the story of a woman and man whose needs are stronger than love (and when Ludwick hits those high notes, you’re fully aware of what she’s talking about); while the breezy “Lie To Me” describes the willingness to experience something that will ultimately hurt you simply to block the pain of isolation, “He’ll come back for me someday/Those are words the fools say/Hold on heartbreak nothing’s gonna save you tonight.”
This Tall to Ride continues with the confessional, dark, and soaring “Freight Train;" the pedal steel fueled tale of heartbreak, and what you do to take that feeling away, “Bars Ain’t Closin’” (“Maybe it was love maybe I was a fool, but I’m a long way from Texas and tonight I’m taking down the blues”), and the affecting “Insider” where she announces, “I’m not a beauty queen no I have never been/I’m just a dime store mystery fifty pages in.”
Ludwick explores the aftereffects of a car wreck in “Mexia,” exhibits a bit of hopefulness on “Wrong Turn Gone” and exposes a vulnerability when appealing to a would be lover in “Junkies and Clowns” before closing out with the rootsy “Texas Jesus” a brazen, yet legitimate, tale of money changing hands to get what one needs to block out the pain - for a while anyway.
This Tall To Ride isn’t sunshine and roses, but it is replete with stories and characters that make you think, feel, and yes even empathize with, because underneath the broken souls, cocaine, and sex, there’s a commonality simmering through Ludwick’s record which is the human need to make a connection and be loved --- and that's something we all can relate to.