Ruth Moody Looks Back At Seventeen

The Wailin' Jennys member takes a longing look back in time on her new solo single.

Ruth Moody learned the truth at Seventeen, and shares it with you in her new single — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

No matter how far you think you’ve come, it’s hard to resist thinking about what might have been. That’s the rationale behind Seventeen, the achingly wistful single from the Canadian singer-songwriter’s forthcoming album Wanderer, due May 17. In her gentle yet authoritative soprano, Moody looks back on a teenage crush that followed the sad but typical trajectory from something craved to something squandered:

“If I could go back
I’d show you all the ways that you made me feel
If I could go back
I’d take you in my arms, try and set us free
If I could go back
I wouldn’t be here now trying to say ‘I’m sorry’
I was 17.”

The open-tuned guitars, delicate delivery and overall “sadder but wiser” vibe of the track reveal Moody’s debt to one of her musical heroes, Joni Mitchell. At the same time, the infectious melody and eternally relevant depiction of adolescent yearning give Seventeen a commercial potential that puts it right up there with the Taylors and Avrils of today.

“I was living on Mayne Island, in British Columbia, during the pandemic, thinking about people and scenes from my past, having memories, and dreams, some of them sweet and some of them painful,” Moody recalls. “It felt like an important and therapeutic song for me to write, wading through that tender time in a way that I hadn’t before. It’s amazing what comes up when you are in a state of mind to remember, and sometimes when you are not trying to remember at all.”

The song is an uncharacteristically long look back for Wanderer, which mostly concerns itself with the path Moody’s life has taken since the release of her last album, 2013’s These Wilder Things. Basically, she went on an extended hiatus to start a family — and being mom to a now-seven-year-old has lent maturity and focus to the 10 new cuts she and co-producer Dan Knobler laid down at Sound Emporium in Nashville (Moody currently splits her time between Music City and Victoria).

Accruing wisdom has been a lifelong process for Moody, starting with her formative years on a goat farm in Manitoba and the dual education in music and English she received from her teacher parents. She went from singing with her siblings to picking up a guitar, and by her 20s was firmly on the road to success with the Billboard-charting, Juno-winning folk trio Wailin’ Jennys, which she co-founded in 2002 (and remains with). Her parallel solo career began in 2010, and she’s also made time for a number of high-profile collaborations with the legendary Mark Knopfler.

Moody will celebrate the release of Wanderer with a U.S. tour. Dates booked so far are include:

May 21 | Ram’s Head, Annapolis, MD
May 22 | World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA
May 23 | The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
May 25 | Joe’s Pub, New York City
May 26 | State Theatre, State College, PA
May 28 | SPACE, Evanston, IL
May 29 | Vivarium, Milwaukee, WI
May 30 | Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
July 13/14 | Winnipeg Folk Festival

Check out Seventeen above, hear more from Ruth Moody below and find her on her website, Instagram and Facebook.