About Us

"Steve and Ruth's music is so original, yet so traditional to the mountains and its Celtic roots. I can't say when we've had so many wonderful comments from the audience.The harmony in their music and their lives is so evident in their performance and exhibits what's best in our home spun 'mountain' music - peace, tranquility, and a real connection to our roots and our community."
- John Buchanan, Valle Crucis, North Carolina

Steve and Ruth have been playing music together for nearly 50 years. From their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, they have performed their Appalachian Americana music extensively in the U.S. from North Carolina to Hawaii and abroad in Scotland, England, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Canada.

Steve and Ruth perform regularly at MerleFest, Winfield, Kansas' Walnut Valley Festival, and other major festivals nationwide, as well as performances on the PBS TV series "Song of the Mountains."

Ruth plays the hammered and Appalachian mountain dulcimers and Steve adds fingerstyle guitar, old-time banjo, and vocals.

Ruth with instruments
A native North Carolinian, Ruth fell in love the with sound of the hammered dulcimer at an apple festival in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her many years of classical training give her a special touch, and she is recognized for her delicate, expressive style. Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine says “Ruth Smith's touch on the hammered dulcimer is absolutely magical, with exquisite phrasing, highlighting the range of the instrument especially on her own pieces.” Ruth enjoys composing music especially for the hammered dulcimer and her compositions have been featured on NPR's All Songs Considered, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, PBS TV's Song of the Mountains and in Dulcimer Players News. A popular instructor, she teaches hammered dulcimer workshops at festivals and folk schools throughout the country and is the author of From Heart to Hands and Touch of Grace, hammered dulcimer instructional books of her compositions and arrangements.



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 his 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 Appalachian Americana music. 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. He teaches workshops nationally at festivals and folk schools on guitar, clawhammer banjo, ukulele, recording, songwriting, copyrights & publishing, live sound reinforcement, and performing techniques.