Ruth Purves-Smith & The 581

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 its 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 recent endeavours 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”. As well, her work garnered her production of an HD music video for her song, “Godzilla”. It can be viewed on her website or on YouTube.

CD/Video release dates are TBA in April and May. Please check the website for updates!