Ruth Purves Smith & the 581
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Ruth Purves Smith & the 581

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | SELF

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ruth Purves Smith & The 581 - Alberta Folk Music with a Twist"

Listening to Ruth Purves Smith & The 581's "Out In The Storm" was an interesting auditory experience. I do not mean “interesting” in a negative sense, but rather how the recording always seemed to have something that I wasn’t expecting. The songs are not cookies cut with the same stencil which (without naming names) has been an observation of many music fans and critics. Ruth Purves Smith & The 581 never stray too far from their folk roots and their intended sound, but each song brings a unique yet familiar quality to the collection. The “folk” still applies, but is not adhered to like a strict rule which allowed Ruth to explore different avenues in her song writing.

“New Light” is a standout track for me, while it has the folk elements running through it; it also has a rock tinged edge with haunting vocal breaks. Her lyrics are laced with truth, asking things you may have asked yourself such as “why don’t we pack up our things and go?”

Overall the album has a very mixed feeling, it doesn’t pick one feeling and carry it through front to finish, but explores a range of vocal/emotional ideas using a range of instrumental/musical ideas.

Would this be something I would put on if I wanted to just relax? Not exactly, but that isn’t a bad thing. Not at all. For lovers of folk music who like to be left guessing until familiarity grows, I would definitely recommend this album. I love folk music, but not all of it makes for good driving music. However, Ruth Purves Smith & The 581 offer folk music seasoned with a number of different styles which shouldn’t be a stranger to your music player of choice. I suggest you pick up, visit her website, and experience it for yourself.
- nxew- North x East West

"Out In The Storm "Ruth Purves Smith & The 581""

I first heard RPS in the early 2000s when I had her open for Fred Eaglesmith at a couple of gigs! She was a gal who knew what she wanted but had not hit her stride yet! Well she has now! And the other thing Ruth has now is strength, in both her songwriting and in her voice. It is like she has grown roots right through her soul into the earth and you can not budge her!

A couple of songs have taken me: "Ride Around", wow it is so beautiful and so sad! I am playing it over and over. Also " Doin the Dance" is an ole country heartbreak song that I could two-step to with my main squeeze.

I am surprised and pleased by this great first record! And I can only think bigger stages are in her future! Thanks Ruth
- The Suzy Group - By Suzy Miller

"Cd Review - Pat Hatherley, songwriter"

I can’t say enough good things about this album. I would call the genré Canadiana, but that doesn’t seem to do it justice. From the mood-evoking and beautiful cover to the mood-evoking and beautiful music, it is a true work of art. It would be misleading to compare Ruth Purves-Smith & The 581 with any other group. They are Ruth Purves-Smith & The 581, with a sound of their own. Do not listen to this cd with half an ear. It deserves your full attention.

The very first cut sets the stage. “Shine Your Light” has a short, simple message. It is a positive endorsement of life in general and of every individual’s ability to bring out the joy in his or her life.
The music of “Ride Around” has a deceptively mellow feel which is a perfect counterpoint for the serious lyrics depicting poverty and social isolation.
“Here Comes That Train” shows the lonely side of being on the road. It is a world where chance relationships can mean a lot, if only for a short time.
Every person who has ever had an abusive relationship (physically or emotionally) can identify with “Godzilla”. The feelings of anxiety and fear are palpable.
“Just A Thought” is poetry put to music. Short and to the Point.
“Out In The Storm (Part One)” tells the story of lost love, assassination, theft, arson, and retribution. A lot to cover in one story but a driving beat keeps the sense of urgency alive throughout.
The ethereal vocals of “New Light” frame the angry story of some one who’s finally had enough. A warrior emerges.
“Where Does This Thing End” is a heart-wrenching plea from one human being to another: The helplessness of seeing a loved one take a wrong turn in life: The promise to help pick up the pieces.
“Out In The Storm (Part Two) is the logical conclusion to “Out In The Storm (Part One) although each song stands alone very well. It shows that retribution has it’s own cost. The song opens with a memorable guitar riff that I found myself humming.
“I Know The Way” is a reassurance to family and friends when the road calls and money needs to be earned. It blossoms into a self-assurance and a willingness to make tough choices for the sake of all.
“Doin’ The Dance” is an astute observation of this life we’re all living. It is set to a charming waltz rhythm that sweeps the listener along with subtle persuasion.
With “Pack It Up And Go”, you have to simply close your eyes and let the song paint the picture. The urge to run away from pressure and hard times is laid out with the wish for freedom and fresh air. Beautifully done.
“Shine Your Light (Reprise)” brings the cd full circle. It was like an ending with a hug.
Throughout the album, the listener is taken on a musically superior journey. The musicianship is strong, accomplished and supportive. The writing and arranging are world-class. Kudos. This album is brilliant.
- Ruth Purves Smith Music

"Out In the Storm a Must Listen Album"

_ By Debbie Moon
"Ruth Purves Smith is about to make a lot of her peers in the music business happy with the long awaited release of her debut music CD'Out in the Storm'." - The Capital

"Local Gal Rocks the Hall"

By ElijahWestin Ruth goes hard and sweet! Unlike anything ever heard in Alberta, her music is a cutting edge blend of acoustic and electric,rootsy cored , rough around the outsides, real prairie music .Look out! Here comes that train!!! - Swalwell Weekly Independent

"Spectacular Doesn't Begin to Describe"

This week’s disc review: Friday, March 5th, 2010
By Donald Teplyske
Ruth Purves Smith & the 581
Out in the Storm
From Three Hills comes the debut album of Ruth Purves Smith & the 581.
Spectacular doesn’t begin to describe the craftsmanship and talent this 13-track disc reveals. It is that rare album that divulges greater richness and depth each listening.
To describe Out in the Storm as a country album isn’t inaccurate, but it is limiting. Closer in tone, mood, and sound to Lucinda Williams and Kimmie Rhodes than it is to any CMT version of country; Ruth Purves Smith has produced a platter of Canadiana roots music.
Purves Smith’s voice reminds one of Williams with similar flexibility and personality. Her backing band consists of veterans of the Alberta music scene and their contributions cannot be overstated. Jim Kukko’s lead guitar is as important to Purves Smith as Gurf Morlix’s was to Williams’ breakthrough Car Wheel on a Gravel Road.
Each song is a little different from the others and Purves Smith’s vocal dynamic is such that she inhabits each song with a diverse voice. Short stories emerge as songs develop, whether the family that doesn’t quite fit(Ride Around) or the abandoned lover of Out In The Storm Part I. Elsewhere, the lyrics leave more to the imagination, as with the sultry, poetic straggler of Just A Thought or the wondering wanderer of Out In The Storm Part II.
Godzilla is a standout song with an undefined darkness haunting the song, and it is here that Purves Smith finds her strongest voice. Singing, “Walking on broken glass again”, she communicates foreboding tension.
Ruth Purves Smith is not a new voice in the Alberta roots community, but many of us are discovering her for the first time. In Out in the Storm she has created a masterful album.
Donald Teplyske is a local freelance writer who contributes a twice-monthly column on roots music; visit for additional reviews. If you know a roots music event, contact him at

- Red Deer Advocate/Fervorcoulee


Ruth co-wrote and recorded the song "Big Skies" on the 2007 release of "Rivers & Rails". This compilation album received numerous accalades; voted best Country CD of 2007 in Cowboy Magazine, and "Big Skies" became one of the hits from the venture.
As well, Ruth has released a 3 song EP.
Both these projects are garnering radio play.
2008 found Ruth with 2 more self composed songs on compilation CD's- "Ride Around" on' Homefest' 2008, and "Cheyenne's Song" on 'Hospice Calgary'. As well, Ruth's rendition of Pat Hatherley's, "Northern Lights" charted #1 on four Broadjam charts stateside!!
The latest release,"Out In The Storm", a full length, all self composed original CD is at College & AAA Americana Radio across Canada & The USA!



Ruth Purves Smith Biography

Ruth’s childhood rambled the prairie highways between urban and country homes. Her mother, a cultured English teacher, lived in the city, and her father and stepmother operated an antique woolen mill in Rural Alberta. This paradox is apparent in Ruth’s music. While the stories may appear to be simple, traditional country, they are supported by a sound that pulls influence from the city: complicated, restless and sometimes loud. The story of Ruth’s career is no different.

In the fall of ’87, Ruth answered an ad for a “girl country singer” The ad was posted by Frank James, a one man band who played the bass guitar with his toes while playing guitar with his left hand and piano with his right. Frank had appeared on the Johnny Carson Show and That’s Incredible. Wow, the Big Time. Ruth soon discovered however that Frank was nuts. She recalls, “As long as my hair was big enough and my skirt was short enough, Frank would play the songs at their proper tempo. Otherwise it was “Blue Eyes Cryin in the Rain” at 90 miles an hour.

Next came Ruth’s first real band, Rodeo-A-Go-Go. In it’s various incarnations, Rodeo traveled the “B” country circuit throughout rural Alberta. The band was often too far out to be country, but too country to be anything else. This didn’t make for a very long run. By 1989, it was over.

Ruth then joined an Edmonton road band for a while, played the odd solo engagement, and in1993 joined the all girl trio Roadside Turnout . The highlights of their time together include a performance at the Calgary Folk Festival, and the birth of her first child.

The fall of ‘93 marked a break for Ruth, who then focused on raising her young family and writing her own music. Though she was occasionally involved in the writing process over the years, she was fundamentally playing other people’s music. Now, she was writing her own and loving it.

After the birth of her second child in ‘96, Ruth embarked on her solo career - opening at different clubs and events, including a couple of shows for Fred Eaglesmith.

Ruth’s endeavors include co-writing and performing the song Big Skies on the compilation Rivers and Rails and the recording of her debut CD “Out in the Storm”.
"Out In the Storm" has garnered critical acclaim across North America, with radio campaigns through Tinderbox Music & Kyle Meredith promotions. The release of "Out In the Storm" has allowed Ruth & the 581 to perform at numerous festivals this past season.
2011 Update: Hey Kids! We're licensed to MTV, came in at #69!!! in the 2010 Top 100 on Canada's bastion of musical culture, CKUA Radio ( 16 transmitters around Alberta & world wide on the web!) As well, we garnered a grant to record our next full length CD- Thanks RAWLCO!!! Currently, we're in the studio workin' on it.
WINTER 2011: Just completed a recording at 'Just B's House of Rock' with Justin Burgess & Bill Durst. The new cd comes out in the late spring, and the old one is still stirring it up; great review in this summer's "PENGUIN EGGS"!