Steve and Ruth

Steve and Ruth

BandFolkAcoustic

Celtic Appalachian describes the unique music of Steve and Ruth Smith featuring hammered dulcimer and guitar. The North Carolina couple, both of Scots-Irish heritage, present a musical journey connecting the origins of Celtic music from Scotland and Ireland with today’s Appalachian mountain music.

Biography

Steve & Ruth Smith
Celtic Appalachian Music on Hammered Dulcimer & Guitar

Celtic Appalachian describes the unique music of Steve and Ruth Smith featuring hammered dulcimer and guitar. The North Carolina couple, both of Scots-Irish heritage, present a musical journey connecting the origins of 17th and 18th century Celtic music of Scotland and Ireland with today’s Appalachian mountain music.

Steve and Ruth, who are married, have been playing music together for many years and live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Through the years, they have performed together in venues around the world, including Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Tonga, Canada, and across the United States from North Carolina to Hawaii. Combining their individual musical influences, Steve and Ruth play a blend of traditional Appalachian, Celtic, Baroque, and original music.

Their concert “Celtic Music: The Appalachian Way” gives an overview of what Celtic Appalachian music is, where it came from, and how it lives on in modern times. In addition to hammered dulcimer and guitar, the concert also features Steve and Ruth on Appalachian Mountain dulcimer, clawhammer banjo, and vocals. Their many years of experience in the entertainment business in a wide array of venues around the nation and the world gives them the ability to adapt quickly and specifically tailor each performance for each individual audience.

A native North Carolinian, Ruth's artistic interests took a fresh direction into Appalachian music after moving to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ruth began playing music at a very young age and is a classically trained pianist and composer who has written numerous pieces for the hammered dulcimer. After playing many different musical instruments through the years, while recovering from kidney transplant surgery she found the hammered dulcimer to be a “fit” to her personality, a vehicle for healing, and a wonderful tool of self-expression. She enjoys the adaptability of this instrument to play many types of music, from sparkling fiddle tunes and Appalachian songs, to lovely Celtic and Baroque melodies. Ruth also enjoys playing Appalachian mountain dulcimer and is accomplished in traditional Appalachian fiber arts, including weaving and spinning.

Steve, an ASCAP award-winning song-writer, was raised in the Appalachian region playing mountain folk music from an early age, later working in the music industry in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Hawaii. His original songs tell the story of simple Appalachian folk and the love of family, tradition, and homeland. While living and performing in Hawaii, Steve decided he needed to reconnect with those Scots-Irish Appalachian roots he had been singing about for so long. In 1990, Steve and Ruth returned to the mountains and Steve received a Master of Arts degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University. He produced, wrote and hosted the weekly multi-state syndicated radio program “The Appalachian Way” featuring the region's mountain music and folklife. Steve, who also teaches audio production at Appalachian State University, records their Celtic Appalachian music in Steve and Ruth's log cabin studio on Snake Mountain in the Blue Ridge.

Their latest CD “An Appalachian Aire” is gaining national attention and airplay, most notably being chosen three consecutive weeks in 2006 by XM satellite radio as “The Best Music This Week on XM.” The title song, written by Ruth, was featured on National Public Radio’s on-line show “All Songs Considered.” The CD features Celtic and Appalachian music as well as several Baroque selections.

Their upcoming CD “Dancin Cross the Strings” (to be released in early 2007) features more of their original music as well as traditional Celtic and Appalachian tunes. They are currently performing music from both of these CDs in their live concert presentation.

Lyrics

Blue Ridge Mountain Sky

Written By: Steve Smith & Tom Simpson Jr.

If you want to do some livin',
the directions I'll be givin'
will lead you to place I'd like to share.
Up to the Appalachian Mountains,
leave that city smog behind you,
soon you'll breath that Blue Ridge Mountain air.

But now our High Country winters will surely make you shiver.
The foggy rainy days can make you cry.
Still there's no one in the world
who could ever think of leavin
when they stand beneath a Blue Ridge Mountain sky.

Standin' in a holler with a coon hound bayin' yonder
smellin' country ham a curin' in the shed.
And the evenin' fog is hangin' 'round the mountain like a collar.
The endless song of crickets in your head.

Sometimes it seems like a dream to be lost inside such beauty,
but to see is to believe you can't deny.
Still there's no one in the world who could ever think of leavin'
when they stand beneath a Blue Ridge Mountain sky.

Inst. verse

So no matter where you're from
we'd be proud just to have you visit.
Come and set a spell with us and feast your eyes.
And when it comes time to leave,
well, you'll know you're always welcome
to come back and share our Blue Ridge Mountain sky.
You'uns come back and share our Blue Ridge Mountain sky.
You'uns come back and share our Blue Ridge Mountain sky.

Along This Old Crooked Road

Written By: Steve Smith

Mail Pouch barnside in a field of clover hay
And a groundhog sunnin' in the heat of the day
A crookedy creek runnin' clear clean and cold
'Bout a mile on down it turns strip mine gold

But that's the country life, easy goin' life, simple life along this old crooked road

Windy Hills Farm up on the ridge
And the creek runs under a one-lane bridge
A one-lane bridge with a roof on the top
And not a cotten pickin' semi or a traffic cop

Now that's the country life, easy goin' life, simple life along this old crooked road

(Bridge)
And a holler's not a yell
It's a place where you go
Between two hills to the old fishin' hole
Catchin bass and bluegill on a Sunday afternoon
And whistlin' through your teeth a funky Bluegrass tune

Now that's the country life, easy goin' life, simple life along this old crooked road

Rusty tinted leaves on the autumn trees
By a white steepled church where folks pray on their knees
Cemetary plots behind that church
Snuggled in Maple trees, Walnuts, and Birch
And when I'm long gone, I hope the Lord do
Have a spot up in heaven along a crooked road, too

Cause I love that country life, easy goin' life, simple life along this old crooked road

(spoken)
I hear He's got a lot of gold streets up there
I just hope there's a couple of dirt roads, too

My Grandpa's Watch

Written By: Steve Smith & Tom Simpson Jr.

Since yesterday I wear the watch
my grandpa always wore
And I don't suppose that where he's gone,
he'll much need it anymore
Cause if they've got trains in heaven
I'm sure they run on time
So, he's left it here, since yesterday,
my grandpa's watch is mine

My grandpa was simple man
He never drank or swore
He never harmed a livin' thing
No one could love life more
And even though his watch don't run,
I hope you understand
I wear it to remind me that
I should be that kind of man

Could you tell me please today
is the 5:03 on time
We used to sit and watch her
and he'd say that rig was mine
My grandpa used to drive her
He went 30 years on time
So I set the watch at 5:03
Now he'll always be on time

Now that my grandpas watch is mine

Discography

An Appalachian Aire, Cabin Cove Records, 2005
A gentle instrumental blend of Celtic, Classical, and Appalachian music, featuring hammered dulcimer and acoustic fingerstyle guitar, along with flute, pennywhistle, Appalachian bowed dulcimer, and bodhran.

Set List

Celtic Music- The Appalachian Way
(Two Set Concert - 2 hours including 15 minute intermission)

1. Whiskey Before Breakfast/Liberty (Traditional Fiddle tunes)
2. Blue Ridge Mountain Sky [Welcome] (original - Steve)
3. Si Bheag, Si Mhor/Southwind [Celtic music origins] (O'Carolan/Traditional Irish)
4. O’Carolan’s Draught [Celtic Harp music] (Turlough O'Carolan)
5. A Fig for a Kiss [Irish Step Dancing – Slip Jig] (Traditional Irish)
6. Tom Morrison’s Hornpipe [Irish fiddlers] (Tom Morrison)
7. Drunk at Night, Dry in the Morning [Scottish fiddlers] (Neil Gow)
8. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring [German musical influence - Baroque] (Johann Sebastian Bach)
9. Bonapart Crossing the Rhine [Mtn. Dulcimer in Appalachia] (Traditional American)
10. Angelina Baker/Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss/Soldier’s Joy [Fiddle & Banjo in Appalachia ] (Traditional Appalachian)
11. Along This Old Crooked Road [Land to the Appalachian Mountaineer] (original - Steve)
12. My Grandpa’s Watch [Fam