We are the Nation of Love

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Ruth Acuff


  Ruth Acuff started her musical journey on piano at age 5, later exploring ukulele, and them more seriously on guitar at 15. With a love for Disney films, and raised in the church, she sang for as far back as she could remember, but it was not until she discovered the guitar that she also find a vehicle for putting her poetry to music. She began performing in public at 17, found steady accompaniment in bassist Jeff Mueller at 19, and at 20 they formed the band Rutherford with drummer Jason Cook, guitarist Pat O’Driscoll, and trumpeter Edward Watson. The band put out the album Mapping Out Chaos in 2005. Afterward, Watson moved away to China and Cook was replaced with drummer Brian Kent. The group recorded Logic & Chemistry, which they released in 2009. Ruth was voted 2009 Best Female Vocalist in the Best of Columbia edition of Inside Columbia magazine in the same year.

     Ruth found her interest in guitar waning, feeling stifled in a guitar-saturated market as well as tired of singing loudly in the rock-music environment. It was during this time that she revisited ukulele briefly. However, it was a chance encounter that would change her life and re-awaken her muse. Ruth found a small Celtic harp in a pawnshop and was instantly enchanted. She brought it home and taught herself for a few months until she recognized that she wanted the direction and discipline of having a teacher. She searched online for harp teachers in her area and found Maria Duhova Trevor, principal harpist for Missouri Symphony. Maria graciously accepted Ruth as her student with the strong suggestion that Ruth acquire a larger harp to learn on. Ruth purchased her current performance harp, a Lyon & Healy Ogden 34-string lever harp, in 2010. She found herself newly empowered for learning, creating, and public performance, and began playing shows largely, if not entirely, focused on her harp-based song writing. Ruth released her first solo EP Paisley in 2011, followed by the EP Tree in 2012. That same year, Jeff began accompanying her on upright bass. They recorded and released This is the Dream in 2013. In 2014, Inside Columbia Magazine honored Ruth with recognition as one of Columbia’s best solo musicians. Currently, Ruth is recording an EP entitled To the Moon, which is dedicated to those who have passed, and those left behind.

     Ruth plans to continue writing, recording and performing music as long as she is able. Following the words of her extended kin, Roy Acuff, (known as the “king of country”, Grand Ole Opry Member, and Country music hall of famer – along with Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, The Carter family, Dolly Parton and others) who said, “Don’t be a blueprint. Be an original,” Ruth is truly an original.