Steve and Ruth's CD "Dancin Cross the Strings"
featured on Fiona Ritchie's "Thistle & Shamrock"
NPR podcast. Listen to a portion of the show
Steve and Ruth have been playing music together for over 35 years. From their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, they have performed their Appalachian Heritage music extensively in the U.S. from North Carolina to Hawaii. They have also been cultural music representatives of the Appalachian region, touring abroad in Scotland, England, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Canada.
Ruth plays the hammered and Appalachian mountain dulcimers and Steve adds fingerstyle guitar, old-time banjo, and vocals.
A native North Carolinian, Ruth began playing music at a very young age and enjoys the adaptability of the hammered dulcimer to many types of music, from traditional fiddle tunes and Appalachian songs, to Celtic and classical melodies. After playing many different musical instruments through the years, she found the hammered dulcimer to be a “fit” to her personality and a wonderful tool of self-expression. Ruth, who studied music at the University of Illinois, composes music especially for the hammered dulcimer and her compositions have been featured on NPR's All Songs Considered and in Dulcimer Players News magazine.
Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine says "Ruth Smith's touch on the hammered dulcimer is absolutely magical with exquisite phrasing." She teaches hammered dulcimer workshops (click here) at festivals throughout the country. Ruth is also accomplished in traditional
Appalachian fiber arts,
including weaving and spinning.
Steve, an ASCAP award-winning songwriter, adds fingerstyle guitar, clawhammer and North Carolina up-picking styles banjo, and vocals to the duo. Dulcimer Players News says, “He is a master storyteller and the perfect vocalist to convey the meaning of the lyrics. His songs stand out for their imagery and melodic strength . . . on par with John Denver’s songs.” Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine says Steve Smith's accompaniment on guitar and clawhammer banjo provides "a traditional . . . rich, true sound" to their Celtic Appalachian music. Since 1997 he has also been teaching audio production/recording at Appalachian State University. Steve has a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University with a major emphasis in Appalachian music and folklife, and is the recipient of the Cratis Williams Fellowship in Appalachian Studies. In the 1990s, Steve created, produced, wrote and hosted the weekly multi-state syndicated radio program, “The Appalachian Way,” about the music and folklife in Appalachia. He also teaches festival workshops (click here) on guitar, clawhammer banjo, recording, copyrights & publishing, live sound reinforcement,
and performing techniques.
In Heirlooms(click here) Steve and Ruth play and sing the music reminiscent of the old homeplace where family, love, faith, and sense of place are the foundations of
heritage and traditions.
Heirlooms is new collection of music from Steve and Ruth which includes 10 of their original songs plus four others. The music from Heirlooms
was featured in 2012 on the national PBS TV series "Song of the Mountains." This CD features hammered dulcimer, old-time banjo, guitar, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, fiddle, flute, and percussion in both vocal songs and instrumental tunes.
Steve and Ruth's CD An Appalachian Winter(click here)has received wide national recognition and sales since its 2009 Christmas season release with Wisconsin Public Radio saying it was "the best new acoustic instrumental CD of the season." Carol Swanson of ChristmasReviews.com says An Appalachian Winter "is all about gorgeously interwoven, homespun instrumentals, providing beautiful organic colors and earthy textures, lightly tossed with Celtic flourishes ." (read entire review) It has received extensive airplay over both terrestrial and internet radio nationwide. Steve and Ruth have created a unique peaceful offering with An Appalachian Winter
Steve and Ruth's CD Dancin Cross the Strings(click here) features more of their original music as well as traditional Celtic and Appalachian tunes. It was a 2009 nominee in the JPF International Music Awards, the world's largest awards for independently produced music. Over 42,000 albums were submitted for the 2009 awards from over 160 countries. Less than 1/3 of 1% of the CDs submitted were nominated. NPR, XM & Sirius satellite radio, Internet radio such as, Pandora, Spotify, Highlander Radio, Celtic Moon and Mountain Legacy, as well as acoustic music format broadcast radio stations around the U.S. are all featuring and programming their music.
Steve and Ruth's first CD releaseAn Appalachian Aire (click here) gained national attention in 2006 being chosen by XM satellite radio as “The Best Music This Week on XM.” Songs from this CD are still in daily rotation on XM & Sirius satellite radio and on major airlines coast-to-coast, as well as on acoustic Americana music format radio stations throughout the nation. The title song, written by Ruth, was featured on NPR’s on-line show “All Songs Considered.” This CD reflects their Scots-Irish heritage, Ruth's classical music training and Steve's mountain folk roots.