Kelly Ruth
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Kelly Ruth

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Pop Folk




"Millennium means music to your ears"

Kelly and the Ruths — 11 p.m. Friday at Suba at Mangia Qui, 272 North St., Harrisburg
Kelly and the Ruths have a sweet, vintage quality to their songs, but there’s nothing saccharine here. Frontwoman Kelly Musser, a Palmyra native now living in Philadelphia, and her “Ruths” (the band’s name was inspired by the Hebrew word for “friend”) create delicate, melodic folk that I’d love to have in the car for a lazy summer drive.

The band is considered one of the most promising coming out of Philly — it won the Philadelphia Songwriters Competition in 2009, and have been featured on the Folk Show on WXPN. Listen to samples on its Myspace ( — “Blue-Eyed Lover” is fantastic. - The Patriot News Harrisburg, PA by Alexis Dow

"RocketHub Interview with Kelly"

A nice article on Kelly and the Ruths recording, fundraising and new album! - Vladimir Vukicevic

"RocketHub Interview with Kelly"

A nice article on Kelly and the Ruths recording, fundraising and new album! - Vladimir Vukicevic

"TC Shillingford Blog"

TC Shillingford helped us promote our RocketHub fundraising campaign by blogging about our band. - TC Shillingford

"Music Video blogged"

Song - "Wild Things" by Kelly Ruth
Director - Jonathan Stutzman - Matthew Graves

"Gifted singer/songwriter has larger agenda"

CAMPBELLTOWN — Kelly Musser has been singing since she was a seventh-grader. The 20-year-old college student has written many of her own songs and currently plays in a band.

But for her, music is a means to an end: Working for social justice is what inspires her.

She comes by her musical talent naturally.

"My dad plays the trumpet, and my mom was in marching band and she plays the flute," Musser said during a recent interview in her parents' South Londonderry Township home.

But it was the choir director at her church, Palmyra Church of the Brethren, who encouraged her to take voice lessons when she in seventh grade, she said.

"She heard me sing and then offered to give me voice lessons," Musser recalled.

At Palmyra Area High School, she enjoyed participating in the musicals.

"And I always liked musicals," she added.

She also was a member of the Susquehanna Youth Chorale. In her junior and senior year, she attended the Capital Area School for the Arts in Harrisburg for her music courses.

Although she plays the upright or string bass and the piano, Musser said she prefers writing lyrics.

"I like singing the best because of the lyrics. You can portray a message through lyrics. You can portray a message with music, but the words are what intrigues me," she explained.

About three years ago, she and a couple of friends formed a band — The Rainy Janes — while they were students at the Capital Area School for the Arts in Harrisburg.

"I use the upright bass as a tool to write songs or as a tool to perform in a band. I always thought a vocalist should play instrument," she said.

The other two members of the band are Liz Zook, who plays the fiddle, mandolin and dulcimer, and Kailynn West, who plays guitar, mandolin and bass drum.

In August 2006, the Rainy Janes started a summer concert — Wednesday in the Woods — held at Camp Pine Woods in North Londonderry Township. The concert, which includes about five regional bands, raised money to help educate women in Sudan.

"Social justice and the arts are my two passions. It's great for me to combine the two," she said.

Recently, the band decided to call it quits for now as the women pursue their college careers. They may reform the band in the future, Musser said.

Musser hopes to make a living as a singer and songwriter, preferably as a member of a band.

"I like creating and collaborating with others," she said. "I don't need to be famous or on MTV. I do music for the art, not for fame."

However, she has almost been on MTV. She is a member of Raise up Roof Beams, a five-member folk-indie rock group born in 2004. This band opened for a band called Boys Like Girls, who is now on MTV, last fall in State College, PA.

Raise up Roof Beams plays in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and soon may sign a contract for an independent label.

The Roof Beams has a number of gigs scheduled this spring, she said. In addition, the group expects to release its latest CD with Koji in April.

Last year, Musser attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts, but she decided to leave. She said she wanted to study a broader variety of music styles than the college offered.

At the present, she has an interest in folk and pop music. Among her favorite singer-songwriters is Joni Mitchell. Others on her list of influences are James Taylor, Damien Rice and Fiona Apple.

Musser said songs sometimes just come to her; other times, it's hard to come up with one.

"It depends on your mood and it depends on how forced it is. I think the best songs are just when you sit down and you're feeling a certain way and it just writes itself," she said. - Lebanon Daily News - Chris Sholly

"Woods jam to aid education // 7 bands to play and raise money for girls in Sudan"

Seven area bands will team up Aug. 1 to raise money to help girls in the Sudan get an education.

"Girls there are the last to get educated," said organizer Kelly Musser of the Rainy Janes, a female folk trio. "Sometimes they have to walk 15 miles to school. If they don't have a water bottle, they can't go to school."

The Wednesday in the Woods 2006 event at Camp Pine Woods in Palmyra raised $800 for the New Community Project's Give a Girl a Chance program last year, and Musser said she hopes to top that this year. About 300 people attended last year, and organizers have done more advertising this year. The bands have acquired local followings, Musser said.

Give a Girl a Chance helps women in the Sudan escape sweatshop labor and the sex trade, Musser said.

The performers scheduled to play are the Rainy Janes, Raise Up Roof Beams, Hannah Bingman, the Backroad, the Great Unknown, Some Call Me the Poet and Fareway.

The bands represent folk, jazz, indie rock, experimental and pop styles. The theme is "building community through music," Musser said.

The event will also include crafts booths, food, a campfire, volleyball and a thrift store. Artists will sell their products, and organizations will provide information or their programs. Restaurants including Lisa's Cafe and Sandy's Breads have donated food and time.

The event is free, but donations are accepted.

"Although the issue in Sudan is far away, the distance should not create an apathetic attitude," Musser said. "We are all college-bound students with limited funds, and we rely solely on what our friends and community leaders offer. Small things. Great love. Let's do what we can."




* WHAT: Wednesday in the Woods 2007

* WHERE: Camp Pine Woods, Route 422 to Palmyra, then North on Forge Road at Friendly's. Go about two miles, watch for event signs.

* WHEN: 4: 30-11 p.m. Aug. 1

* INFORMATION: or 383-1272

-END- - Patriot-News, The (Harrisburg, PA)


Wild Things - Full Length (Kelly Ruth) 2009
The Wedding Song EP (Kelly Ruth) 2010
Hang onto the Good - (Kelly Ruth) - 2011



"...delicate, melodic folk that I'd love to have in the car for a lazy summer drive." - Alexis Dow Campbell (The Patriot News - Harrisburg, PA)

"...sweet, vintage quality to her songs, but there's nothing saccharine here." - Alexis Dow Campbell (The Patriot News - Harrisburg, PA)

"...features pleasant three-part vocal harmonies...songwriting seems to borrow a page from Burt Bacharach's songbook." - Roman Divezur (City Paper - Rochester, NY)

Kelly Ruth is considered to be one of the most promising artists coming out of the Philadelphia indie/folk scene. She won the Philadelphia Songwriters Contest in 2009 and has been a featured guest of WXPN's "Folk Show" with Gene Shay. She can be found at such local venues as the Tin Angel and the North Star Bar or working the festival rotation at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Bethlehem Musikfest, Artsfest Harrisburg, Kimmel Summer Solstice and many more.

She's a city sweetheart with country roots and her songs will steal your heart away once you give them a listen. Memorable melodies and endearing lyrics.