Red Bird Rising, AKA Diedrich Donald Weiss, releases a tribute to “Ruby”
Indie Rock Musician Red Bird Rising has released a singularly defiant new single in tribute of a woman in the grip of suicidal ideation hunted by memories of incest. Diedrich Donald Weiss‘s stark lyricism pokes and prods at the dark corners of the subconscious mind with reckless abandon, calling on the protagonist to stand and reach for the light. These carefully chosen coded messages form a net of untethered, mutinous energy over the hypnotic, steadily growing rhythmic pulse. “Ruby” is a swift, cunning song coupling haunting melody with chilling dissonance, led by Diedrich’s venomous lament, whose choice words permeate the arrangement as both an ominous warning and a call to rise.
“Ruby” follows up Red Bird Rising’s debut single “My Revolution”, which met wide acclaim for its scathing commentary on the Ukraine war. LA Weekly calls it ‘a powerful anthem of love and defiance amid war’. The accompanying music video was even filmed in Odessa under threat of Russian bombs. The themes explored in “Ruby” are just as heavy and potent, albeit both the track and lyrics hit different.
The Minneapolis-born artist currently residing in Colombia has proven a willingness to speak on uncomfortable topics and take great risks for the sake of making compelling art. Ultimately, “Ruby” is a raw, heartfelt song about reclaiming your personal power in spite of even the strongest perceived opposition. For anyone who has experienced suicidal ideation or sexual abuse, “Ruby” addresses the shame, darkness, and the decisive triumph beyond.
Ruby; A woman deep in the grip of suicidal ideation as her unconscious captures her with buried memories of incest.
Ruby is a woman deep in the grip of suicidal ideation as her unconscious captures her with dreams of buried memories of incest. She’s a poet. Ruby writes negotiations with Death to soothe herself with the leverage that she has the power to take her own life. Diedrich Donald Weiss sings, “I know that your hole is real and how the death dream soothes your wound/Like a wine of mercy and you get to say when, no matter when”.
This song is not fiction. Ruby is a real person from Weiss’ life. A stranger who became an acquaintance who then became a friend. He has been given access to her poetry and to her circumstances. He is both listening to Ruby as well as speaking to her. It is a conversation in song.
The inspiration for the song came from a line of poetry she shared with him that read, “no one sings for me/no one touches me”. So Weiss wrote the song to both sing for her and hopefully be someone whom she connects with in order to help her be released from this quickening momentum toward taking her own life.
In the second chorus he sings, “I know that your hope is real and yet gets tired and weak, week by week/You braid your rope of words and tie the noose ’round your throat”. Weiss contends that there is no greater potential to defragment and destroy a life than to be a victim of incest. Ruby writing of it is a sign of hope to Weiss, yet the conversation can not end with this being the only escape option.
The shame of incest is so dark and penetrating that to overcome its call to end one’s own life is to be not only haunted by one’s unconscious, but hunted. Weiss sings, “Dreams persist/Scenes of incest/Hide behind your eyes/Asking for your death”. This depth is expressed in the intro where a female operatic aria has the gravitas equal to the weight of Ruby’s great burden. The rupture to one’s sense of belonging, whether belonging to one’s family, or to simply society is so great that feeling whole is almost impossible within the victim’s lifetime. Almost.
And here is the chrysalis of the song; Weiss proposes a way out. In the out section he sings, “Ruby, it’s time to scream/Ruby, it’s time to speak”. He is saying to no only tell him what happened, but to tell others. That is where she can start to find power over the shame and darkness, not in writing poetry negotiating with Death.
Musically, “Ruby” should appeal to fans of artists like Radiohead, Mark Lanegan, Bob Mould and Queens of the Stone Age. Red Bird Rising is currently working on a full-length album, with several more singles to be released this year.
Songwriter; Diedrich Donald Weiss
Singer & Vocals: Diedrich Donald Weiss
Electric Guitars: Diedrich Donald Weiss
Acoustic Guitar: Diedrich Donald Weiss
Bass Guitar: Diedrich Donald Weiss
Electric Piano: Diedrich Donald Weiss
Synthesizer: Diedrich Donald Weiss
Drums: Luciano Tucuduva
Percussion: Luciano Tucunduva
Producer: Luciano Tucunduva
Mixing Engineer: Luciano Tucunduva
Mastering Engineer: Otavio Carvalho
Artist Name: Red Bird Rising
Location: Colombia, South America
Release Title: Ruby
Release Date: April 30, 2023
Similar/RIYL: Bob Mould, Mark Lanegan, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead
Genre(s): Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative, Singer Songwriter
Diedrich Donald Weiss, in his words, has a, “world worn faith in the power of music to significantly change people’s lives.”
From 2009 – 2015, Diedrich took on a project of great impact and compassionate scope, performing songs each Friday for patients, family and staff in the cancer and mental health unit of Fairview Southdale hospital in Minneapolis, MN. Diedrich’s day job at the time was booking original music and art for a locally owned franchise chain of cafes. One Friday he arrived to the cancer unit to see a musician whom he’d booked many times.
Tim had late stage cancer and rolled out of his room in his wheelchair and IV tree to greet him.
The next Friday Diedrich arrived to again see Tim roll out to greet him, but this time he had his baby Taylor acoustic guitar. Diedrich strummed chord progressions for Tim to solo. Slowly a crowd emerged. People and staff from other floors began to fill the hallway and the electricity of a private spontaneous show filled the energy. They played for 45 minutes continuously, and despite Tim’s d-string breaking, he continued to play with fire and focus.
As Diedrich learned after, Tim knew this would very likely be the last time he’d play music. The following Friday, Diedrich learned Tim had died leaving 4 children and his wife behind.
During these years, Diedrich recorded 4 solo studio albums, engineered and produced 5 albums for other artists, and performed guitar and vocals as a studio musician. One record of his is Public Songs For Private Use which music critic Chris Riemenschneider of the Minneapolis Star & Tribune wrote, “His music is pretty damn compelling, with traces of Richard Thompson and Jeff Buckley and an obviously deep emotional well.”
In the years since 2015, Diedrich travelled working remotely while continuously writing and producing demos for over 3 albums worth of material. His travels took him to the coast of Colombia on the Caribbean beside the Sierra Nevada mountains where he settled and built his recording studio. Creating under the alias RED BIRD RISING, remote collaborators on Diedrich’s songs range from Ukraine, Argentina, France, England, Croatia, Brazil, South Africa, and the US.
My Revolution is the first RED BIRD RISING release and features Taras Kuznetsov on lead vocals and video co-director about his contending with the Russian invasion living in Odessa, Ukraine.
A sense of great urgency prevailed throughout the music and video production of My Revolution inspiring all collaborators to work fast inside of imminent threat of missile and bomb strikes derailing the project and possibly resulting in Taras’s death.
In Buenos Aires, producer Mariano Cukierman took Diedrich’s demo of My Revolution and recorded Fernando Moreno on drums, tracked electric guitar and keys using Diedrich’s guitar riffs and backing vocals. Without public transportation operable, in order to track lead vocals, Taras walked over an hour to his studio with the threat of missile and bomb strikes in these early weeks of the invasion in March, 2022.
Thereafter in Odessa, Taras’s bassist wife Ana Pshokina tracked bass, while in New York, string arranger Megan Gould tracked violins and violas with session cellist Eleanor Norton. From here, Mariano, Diedrich and Taras collaborated on mixing My Revolution using audio from Ukrainian protests from the Orange Revolution of 2014 echoing history as guitar feedback harmonics soar through the track’s intro.
The video production in Odessa called for video to be shot in public, both during the day, and at night. The opening of the video is shot from Taras’s apartment where you can hear, see and feel the chilling sirens ricocheting off the buildings in the otherwise silent night.
Back in Colombia, Diedrich edited the video using shots Taras produced in Odessa and footage from sites such as the invasion archive site Dattalion and Ukraiine Today on social media’s Telegram. To express the inner struggle, Diedrich used dance scenes shot by filmmaker Flor Giardino in Buenos Aires of choreographer and dancer Melina Ascune.
The bombings by Russian missiles to Odessa’s energy infrastructure after the explosion on the Crimea Bridge made collaboration on the video even more difficult. Despite Taras having less access to electricity and internet, he and Diedrich together fulfilled the visual story that felt needed to be told.
At the heart of the My Revolution project is each artist from Colombia, Argentina, the United States, and Ukraine rising to pull everything they have within them to fulfill the vision of a personal story of supreme immediacy.