The legendary Jim Ruiz debuts a legendary tunic

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You know you're watching a performer of a certain age when he takes a moment from his stage patter to thank all the babysitters who've enabled his audience to turn out. Another way of putting that: You know you've reached a certain age when you're watching a band of your youth while silently thanking your babysitter back at home.


So it was last night at the 7th St. Entry as the Legendary Jim Ruiz awakened from a six-year slumber. Ruiz's gentle cohort--Allison LaBonne (bass), Peter Anderson (drums), Clint Hoover (mouth harp), and Kim Anderson (marimba)--remained true to the maestro's tundra bossa nova. And Ruiz--well, he still can't sing worth a lick if you consider Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright to be the template. Which is another way of saying that Ruiz's long hiatus from stage has cost him none of his charm. Which is another way of saying that he took the stage in a smashing red silk tunic and stuck with it as he developed a summery sweat.

The audience hummed along to favorites from 1995's Oh Brother Where Art Thou? (hey, someone has to keep the tune); later Ruiz auditioned songs from a forthcoming album, including one tribute to two-wheeling that somehow managed to rhyme "I like my religion fundamental" with "Schwinn Continental."

And then it was time for the old-timers to bike back to the homestead. You can dally all you like, but at the end of the night, the babysitter must get paid.



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