Bread and Bones is a Vermont-based acoustic trio performing original music with a strong traditional-roots foundation. Made up of Richard Ruane, Beth Duquette and Mitch Barron, their sound is characterized by imaginative two- and three-part harmonies over solid guitar and bass work.
They appeared on the main stage at the 2009 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in the Emerging Artist Showcase. They were juried 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance showcase performers and selected by folk DJs for the Folk DJ Showcase. Their CD "I Know Stories" was named Vermont's Best Traditional Album of 2008. Ruane was a finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Competition, the Great Waters Music Festival Songwriter Contest and the Plowshares Coffeehouse Singer-Songwriter Competition. He was an award winner at the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and the SolarFest Songwriter Showcase.
Ruane's songwriting has been compared at times to Richard Shindell, Richard Thompson and John Gorka. The sound of their harmonies has been compared to Tim and Molly O'Brien.
They primarily perform original music, but also some traditional songs from America and the British Isles, songs by other songwriters and some jazz standards. Richard Ruane's warm baritone voice blends seamlessly with Beth Duquette’s expressive alto. Ruane plays guitar, ukulele, mandolin and banjo. Mitch Barron adds his wonderful presence on fretless, fretted and upright bass and vocals.
"Bread and Bones gives a great live show. Their gorgeous 3 part harmonies are the perfect complement to the warm and heartfelt songwriting of Richard Ruane. In their show, they created a playful, warm environment for the audience and kept us all engaged until the last song." - Anna Maria Tocci, the North Star Music Café, Portland, Maine
"They are entertainers of the first order, producing gorgeous harmonies, captivating lyrics, and witty banter. We are always thrilled to welcome them back to the Ball & Chain." - Barbara Ebling, the Ball and Chain Café, Brandon, Vermont
“Ruane is adept at the fine art of storytelling put to song, whether it’s about the down-and-out, leaving one’s homeland, or a dark encounter in a Dublin park. His originals speak to different shades of love, joy, mystery and real life.” - Terry Lickona, producer of Austin City Limits
"Their playing and singing are crisp and confident: Ruane’s work on guitar is full of finesse and creativity. Ms. Duquette’s harmony and lead vocals are clear and to the point but not overly adorned. And – to my ear at least – Barron’s sparse, deep backing on both upright bass and fretless electric puts the real stamp on this music as original, from-the-shoulder, and very much alive." - Jeff Trippe in MaineFolkMusic.com
"Bread & Bones is a trio which has a great variety of material. Many tunes are Richard's, and his music takes you from laughing to pondering. Their great musicianship, tunes and lively stage banter has made them a favorite at The Music Box." - Lisa Sammet, the Music Box, Craftsbury, Vermont
Richard Ruane's warm baritone voice blends seamlessly with Beth Duquette’s expressive alto. Ruane plays guitar, ukulele, mandolin and banjo. Mitch Barron adds his wonderful presence on fretless, fretted and upright bass and vocals.
Bread and Bones - "Could Have Been a Dream " 2011 Riptone Records
Bread and Bones - "I Know Stories" 2008 Riptone Records
Richard Ruane - "Things That Strangers Say" 2001 Riptone Records
Review of "I Know Stories" by Art Edelstein
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Times Argus August 1, 2008 CD Review Bread and Bones headed for the bright lights of folkdom ...Times Argus
August 1, 2008
Bread and Bones headed for the bright lights of folkdom
By Art Edelstein Arts Correspondent
It's rare that a reviewer gets an album that is flawless. The first CD from Bread and Bones has one flaw, albeit a minor one. The group should have a better name.
Bread and Bones is led by Richard Ruane, a fine singer/guitarist and superior songwriter. He is joined by Beth Duquette on vocals and Mitch Barron on electric and upright bass and backing vocals.
While this is a trio, the major talent (although they are all very talented) is Ruane. He's a performer to note. His credits include being an award-winner or finalist at the Kerrville (Texas) Folk Festival, Grassy Hill New Folk Competition, the Great Waters Folk Festival Songwriter Contest, the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, the Plowshares Coffeehouse Singer-Songwriter Competition and Vermont's SolarFest Songwriter Showcase. This is quite a resume, and from the songs on this CD, his songwriting awards are well-deserved.
Ruane also won a "Rachel Bissex White Light Fund" scholarship to the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference. The scholarships are intended for Vermont artists developing careers as performers and recording artists.
Ruane writes in a distinctly "folk" style; if you need a contemporary word then "roots" works well. This is music with substance and intelligence covering a variety of themes.
The music is delivered tastefully with Ruane's acoustic guitar carrying the lion's share of the work and Barron's bass as the aural underpinning. Ruane's guitar work is crisp and emphatic rather than limply strummed. He gets a lot of sound from his often minimalist finger-picking and chord work. Barron is every Vermont folk group's bassist of choice. His work is solid and sensitive.
Duquette's singing should not be slighted although she often takes second chair to Ruane's lead vocals. Hers is a fine clear alto in perfect step with Ruane. Together the two can sing with the best on record. This is evident on "Fair and Tender Ladies," the old English ballad sung by many folkies, one of just two songs the group didn't write for this album.
What I enjoyed about this album beyond the finely crafted songs was the lack of pretension. With just guitar and bass, an occasional mandolin, ukulele, Dobro or accordion from cameo performers, this group held my attention throughout. There is no studio gimmickry. Instead, the voices are up front in the mix, the diction is clear, the music seems to pop out of the speakers and there is a lot of space in the aural landscape.
The members of Bread and Bones have each been in a large number of different groups over the years, including Feast or Famine, Sundog, The Hibernators, Wild Branch, the Rebecca Padula Band, the Michele Fay Band and Womensing.
Duquette and Ruane are also actively involved in presenting music in Vermont. Both are on the board of directors and the selection committees for the Ripton Community Coffee House and the Middlebury Festival on the Green.
Between them they have shared the stage with Pete Seeger, Brooks Williams, Lynn Miles, Phish, Louise Taylor, Robin Williamson, Slaid Cleaves, Jennifer Kimball, Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen and Rachel Bissex.
All these various performing opportunities have honed a sound that is very confident and mature. Bread and Bones may be a new name to many Vermonters but if this CD is an example, this trio is headed for the bright lights of folkdom. They took several years to produce this first CD; I hope their next album is already in the planning stage. This CD is highly recommended.
© 2008 Times Argus
Review of "I Know Stories" by Herb van der Poll
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Seven Days – Review This July 9, 2008 By Herb van der Poll Bread & Bones, I Know Stories (Ript...Seven Days – Review This
July 9, 2008
By Herb van der Poll
Bread & Bones, I Know Stories
Richard Ruane, Beth Duquette and Mitch Barron have performed music together and separately as members of various bands, including Feast or Famine, Sundog, The Hibernators and Wild Branch. While I can claim only a passing familiarity with these ensembles, their coming together as the acoustic trio Bread & Bones strikes me as inevitable. Their dynamic perfectly suits their rootsy bluegrass sound.
The opening number of Bread & Bones’ debut album shares its name with the band. Straight away, the album’s strengths are clear. Ruane’s superlative guitar work drives the song. Barron’s nuanced bass line adds depth. Duquette’s and Ruane’s voices weave delightfully through each other and the music.
“Bread & Bones” also showcases the album’s two major lyrical trends, old-timey folk balladry and bleak or absent romance. The song’s narrator commits a crime, flees, and returns to be judged. Afterward, he or she laments having “no one to hold or be held to/no one to tell my secrets to.”
On "My Father Is Gone," a child recollects a father who died working on the railway. It's a fine song, effectively evoking a sense of death and loss, as well as the difficulty we have coming to terms.
Their words are strong with a wealth of quotable lines, such as the Duquette-delivered "You call to me / Why should I fear you? / I see your shape, / But you're not there."
I Know Stories is a solid album made by musicians who know and love traditional American music. Check it out if you're a fan or if you need a primer.
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"Richard Ruane, Beth Duquette and Mitch Barron demonstrated their sophistication as performers Satur..."Richard Ruane, Beth Duquette and Mitch Barron demonstrated their sophistication as performers Saturday at the Music Box. They shared a warm and spontaneous sense of humor that kept everyone entertained through their almost two dozen songs. Ruane is a skillful player of guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele with a classic folk singers voice, and he composed most of the tunes. Duquette has a particularly lovely, pure voice with fine enunciation. Barron provides an excellent foundation rhythm on his electric bass guitar and upright double bass. Ruane and Duquette harmonize well vocally, that male/female contrast enriching the melodic lines. Ruane's original songs had excellent melodies, combining imaginative lyrics with well-crafted tunes, frequently having demanding instrumental work. Three traditional folk songs rounded out the interestingly varied repertoire of this group." - David K. Rodgers, Hardwick Gazette
“Well-crafted songs, lyrically clear and vocally strong.” - Steve Lemke, Burlington Free Press
“Adroit guitar and mandolin playing. Lyrically, Ruane is a storyteller with a gift for place and character. Keenly observant.” - Pamela Polston, Seven Days
“He is a pleasure to listen to. He comes on stage with a wealth of original songs ranging from the wry and witty to serious and thought-provoking.” - Greg Pahl, Addison County Independent
“His strong voice with compassionate lyrics grabbed the audience throughout his performances. A polished performer.” — Carol & Harvey Green, After Dark Music Series.
“One of Vermont’s most versatile talents. He combines exceptional vocal and multi-instrumental skills, and does it all well.” - Jeff Miller, Burlington Coffeehouse
Review of CD "Things That Strangers Say"
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RICHARD RUANE Things That Strangers Say Riptone Records The solo debut from Richard Ruane, form...RICHARD RUANE
Things That Strangers Say
The solo debut from Richard Ruane, formerly of Vermont bands Feast Or Famine and Sundog, is a collection of songs that quickly become like good friends upon first meeting. The evocative “Old Lovers”, the innocent joy of “A Heart That’s Wide Open”, the universal sentimentality of “Light Of The World”, and the hilarious honesty of “Well-Meaning Folks With Guitars” all share a common bond of life experience.
Ruane is adept at the fine art of storytelling put to song, whether it’s about the down-and-out, leaving one’s homeland, or a dark encounter in a Dublin park. His originals speak to different shades of love, joy, mystery and real life; the one cover, “Crazy Man Michael”, is a well-done tribute to an obvious mentor, Richard Thompson. Ruane’s voice has a soothing quality — at times plaintive, at times mirthful, but always expressive. The accompaniments are sometimes rich, sometimes stark, but add just the right texture — in particular, Patti Casey’s backing vocals.
If “folk” music as a category means acoustic, traditional, simple, personal, storylike, then this fits. But there’s more to it than that. Ruane plugs into his soul’s emotions to bring forth well-crafted songs that speak a universal language, and linger for a long time.
TERRY LICKONA, producer of Austin City Limits
Here are some of the songs performed by Bread and Bones. All songs by Richard Ruane except as noted.
I Was Not Born Here
You Cannot Find a Thing That Isn't There - Beth lead vocal
Bread and Bones
Soon I Will Be Done (Traditional) - Beth and Richard split lead vocals
My Father is Gone
You Call to Me (Ruane/Duquette) - Beth lead vocal
Let Me Know
I Dreamed I Rose
Lord Franklin (Traditional)
Will I Be Welcome
Comes Love (Lew Brown, Sam Stept & Charles Tobias) - Beth lead vocal
The Wolf is at the Door
You Don’t Miss Your Water (William Bell) - Beth lead vocal
Look Out the Moon
Slipping on Your Way - Beth and Richard split lead vocals
Don’t You Trust Me
Bits of Moonlight - Beth lead vocal
This Is the Day
Time Is Passing
Fair and Tender Ladies (Traditional) - Beth lead vocal
There Are No Angels Here Today
Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt) - Beth, Mitch and Richard split lead vocals
Joy That Carries Me
Lover, Come Back to Me (Oscar Hammerstein II & Sigmund Romberg) - Beth lead vocal
Light of the World
The Cuckoo (Traditional)
Walkin’ Cane (Traditional/Richard Ruane)
Set length and number dependent on venue's requirements. Generally two or three 50 minute sets.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.