Review: JP Ruggieri Sings of Chaos and Comfort

JP Ruggieri/Gradually Descend Into Chaos/self-released
Three Out of Five Stars 

Videos by American Songwriter

JP Ruggieri has made his mark in the Nashville music scene for the past five years, having established as a session player of note whose work has been spotlighted alongside such notables as members of the Wood Brothers, Charlie Hunter, Penny & Sparrow, David Ford, and Jarrod Dickenson, to name a few. Gradually Descend Into Chaos finds Jano Rix sitting behind the boards with Ruggieri and Oliver Wood adding vocals to one of the tracks as well.

Its ominous title aside, Gradually Descend Into Chaos is mostly a winsome affair, with songs such as “Kill A Smile,” “Buckets,” “Brick Wall,” and “Up By The River” propelled by playful rhythms that belie any sense of trouble or turmoil. That’s notable in that Ruggieri claims to have addressed themes of distress and disappointment in prepping this album, including the dissolution of a long-term relationship, a five-year-long battle with a rare chronic pain condition, and the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

As a result, Ruggieri has managed to create an appealing album that invites listeners in despite the tempestuous topics he’s touching on regardless. I guess somewhere, deep inside, I prefer to lose, he sings on the confessional “Prefer To Lose,” Me, I’ve mastered the art of throwing it all away.  

To be sure, there are the other occasional sadder songs—the ballad “Weeds and Flowers” and the weary “Carry” in particular. On the whole, however, it seems that Ruggieri has used this effort to more or less vent his feelings and find some solace in the process. If there is indeed a way to coax comfort out of chaos, it appears he’s found the formula. That, then, is all the more reason to share in his suffering.

Photo by Matt Wilkinson

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