Ruth Hill

Ruth Hill

 Jay, Maine, USA
SoloFolkAmericana

Ruth Hill is a talented multi-instrumentalist with a clear voice who delivers her own mix of folk / Americana. A musical storyteller inspired by the gritty joy of growing up in a large, colorful family, and a wandering spirit that's taken her to both poles of the globe, she sings her heart out in beautiful melodies and hard-hitting lyrics. Her songs are a feather in the wind, a mason jar of moonshine, a spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl--exciting your imagination and opening the doors to your own heart.

Biography

Ruth's passion for music started early; she sang with her brother and sister at community events in the small New Hampshire village where she grew up. She picked up the banjo at 8, started guitar at 12, began writing songs as a teenager, and sang her first gig as backup for her brothers rock-n-roll band from behind the curtain in a smoky bar before she was old enough to legally be there. Since then she has performed around the world, from Antarctica to Alaska, with warmer stops in between.

The inspiration for Ruth's songs comes from the rich experiences of a large, colorful family, a wandering spirit that has taken her to remote corners of the globe, and a love for the natural world. Her heartfelt, original lyrics weave stories of her hardscrabble youth, love, loss, and the human yearning for transformation. Ruth says, "music provides a place where I can safely explore emotions, and it challenges me to find ways to express the stories that are in my bones".

Ruth lives in Jay, Maine on an 80 acre farm with her partner, Gretchen and their goats, barn cats and chickens.

Lyrics

Sliver of Light

Written By: Ruth Hill

Sliver of Light

We were married in a church called “Our Lady of Sorrow”
It took me 12 years to break free
When our dear Dottie Ann lay limp in my hands
On the boulevard down in Revere
I had nothing to stay for, no life to care for
I finally had nothing to fear

Chorus: I don’t know where these tears are flowing
I don’t know where these prayers are going
If there’s a heaven above me with angels in white
Send me a sliver of light

I took the new car. I drove through the darkness
I drove all the way to the sea
I had one thing worth holding, but it slipped through my arms
Now I found myself down on my knees

Chorus:

Every morning I walk to “Our Lady of Sorrow”
I light a candle and kneel
Then I unfold my hands, the same hand that held her
And will never forget how that feels

Chorus:

Sliver of Light Thimble of hope
Through the long cold night at the end of the rope
If there’s a heaven above me with angels in white
Send me a sliver of light
Send me a sliver of light

Larry's Guitar

Written By: Ruth Hill

Larry’s Guitar

He called his guitar Constance said she was truer than most
A 1958 D35 with cracks and spots worn as thin as a ghost
Traveled with her along the open road never knowing where he was bound
A yodelin’ buckaroo singin’ his songs from town to town

He played like Libba Cotton, couldn’t steal a lick
Upside down and backwards his fingers moved sure and quick
Brushed and slapped a rhythm out on his flat-top drum
Kept a bass line moving with his fingers picked the melody with his thumb

Chorus:
When Larry’s guitar filled up the room freight trains rolled by
And coyotes howled at a big full moon
You could feel the magic that his Grandpa weaved
Smell Texas flowers in the air
On Larry’s guitar you could hitch a ride to anywhere

Came from a long line of railroad men, small Illinois town
Like his Dad before him that town couldn’t hold him down
He climbed on board the main-line felt the rumbling beneath his feet
When he sang “The City of New Orleans” his own memories kept the beat

He told me once he met Guy Clark, a song-writing hero of his
He said, “I asked him to listen to some of my tunes
We sat down in the back of the room
If you ask me what happened in that late night Austin bar
Guy Clark’s hit the lucky sevens
He got to listen to Larry’s guitar

Valley of Time

Written By: Ruth Hill

Valley of Time

A cold draft swept down the stairs
From the rooms where we used to sleep
At the top of the landing plaster jagged and bare
Where my daddy’s anger reached deep

Grey woodstove, yellow wallpaper flowers
The smell of baked beans and brown bread
The door down cellar on the other side
Where treasures of summer were kept

Chorus: One of these days I’ll take a ride
Over the notch to the New Hampshire side
South on 16 ‘till the hills start to slide
Into the valley of time

A rambling cape with a barn attached
A chicken coop where I used to hide
A sentry of maple trees lined the stonewall
Guarding the secrets inside

Sitting on the stairway looking down through the rails
At a fat man with a black coat and tie
He carried little Penny’s cold body away
While my momma sat there and cried

Chorus:

Bridge: The folks are gone now, the henhouse torn down
The creek where we played runs thru’ a culvert underground
But if you listen closely when that old house exhales
When the shutters blow open you can still hear the tales

Chorus:

Down to the River

Written By: Ruth Hill

Down to the River

I’m going down to the river again just to watch it roll
I’m going down to the river again just to watch it roll
That cool clear water is a comfort to my troubled soul

There’s a music in the river seems to calm me down
Music in the river just seem to calm me down
When my feet feel heavy that rocky riverbed is where I’m bound

When I’m feeling lonely I go down
When my cup is empty I go down
I go down to the river and let it wash
These weary blues to another town

There’s a deep, deep pool on the bend by the old crib dam
There’s a deep, deep pool on the bend by the old crib dam
It’s deeper than my sorrow and wiser than I’ll ever understand

This river makes me feel alive
Always lets me speak my mind
This river knows me by name
Never asks no questions, just takes the blame

When I Grow Up

Written By: Ruth Hill

I want to be a drunk when I grow up
I want to scream and shout when I get mad
I want to throw my plate against the kitchen wall
I want to be just like my mom and dad

I want to take a ride when I grow up
I want to feel the needle in my veins
I’ll lie down on my bed and let my eyes roll back
I want to be just like my brother James

I want to learn to read when I grow up
I like that book called “Where the Red Fern Grows”
I‘ll read it over and over ‘til I know most of the words
I want to be just like Mrs. Monroe

I want to do secret things when I grow up
I’ll give you altar wine and lock the door
I want to put my hands where they don’t belong
I want to be just like Reverend Moore

I want to be a drunk when I grow up
I’ll fly so high and look down from above
I’ll learn to read I’ll learn to let my eyes roll back
Just wanna be like everyone I love
I wanna be like everyone I love

When the End Begins

Written By: Ruth Hill

It’s true that’s how the story goes
A dance, a kiss, a long stem rose
A touch that makes the shimmer shout
Then the stars all twinkle out
When the end begins

Chorus: That’s always how the end begins,
A curtain’s drawn and the sun shines in
A trumpet sounds and a choir joins in
Everyone knows what’s happenin’
When the end begins

Blue jays screechin’ from an wild plum tree
Flowers are sacrificed for seeds
Leaves curl their edges underneath
Thorny branches bare their teeth
When the end begins

That’s always how the end begins,
A killing frost, a northern wind
A trumpet sounds and a choir joins in
Everyone knows what’s happenin’
when the end begins

Confetti falls down on our plates
Politicians celebrate
Soldiers who are left to stand
Limp home with medals in their hands
Then the end begins

That’s always how the end begins,
Nightmares come no one ever wins
A trumpet sounds and a choir joins in
Everyone knows what’s happenin’
When the end begins

Bridge:
Time is served in a Dixie cup
It’s reservoir is drying up
Old ghosts gather 'round your bed
Memories circle overhead
When the end begins

That’s always how the end begins,
A final prayer to absolve our sins
A trumpet sounds and a choir joins in
Everyone knows what’s happenin’
When the end begins