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Steve and Ruth Smith

Acoustic Americana Music with Appalachian & Celtic Roots

NPR thistlepod with fiona ritchie logo

Steve and Ruth's CD "Dancin Cross the Strings"
featured on Fiona Ritchie's "Thistle & Shamrock"
NPR podcast. Listen to a portion of the show

"Steve and Ruth are a performing and recording power house. Their music is beautifully arranged and performed and they’re among the best and busiest ambassadors we have for hammered and mountain dulcimer." Dan Landrum, Dulcimer Players News


Steve and Ruth have been playing music together for over 40 years. From their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, they have performed their Appalachian Americana music extensively in the U.S. from North Carolina to Hawaii and abroad in Scotland, England, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Canada.

Steve and Ruth perform yearly at "MerleFest" and other major festivals nationwide, as well as regular performances on the PBS TV series "Song of the Mountains."

Ruth plays the hammered and Appalachian mountain dulcimers and Steve adds fingerstyle guitar, old-time banjo, and vocals.

A native North Carolinian, Ruth studied music at the University of Illinois and composes music especially for the hammered dulcimer. Her compositions have been featured on NPR's All Songs Considered, Sirius XM satellite radio, PBS TV "Song of the Mountains" and in Dulcimer Players News magazine. Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine says “ Ruth Smith's touch on the hammered dulcimer is absolutely magical, with exquisite phrasing, highlighting the range of the instrument especially on her own pieces.” She teaches hammered and Appalachian mountain dulcimer workshops (click here) at festivals and folk schools throughout the country and is the author of "From Heart to Hands" and "Touch of Grace" hammered dulcimer instructional books of her compositions and arrangements. Ruth is also accomplished in traditional Appalachian fiber arts, including weaving and spinning.

Steve, an ASCAP award-winning songwriter, adds fingerstyle guitar, clawhammer and North Carolina up-picking styles banjo, and vocals to the duo. Dulcimer Players News says, “He is a master storyteller and the perfect vocalist to convey the meaning of his lyrics.  His songs stand out for their imagery and melodic strength . . . on par with John Denver’s songs.” Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine says Steve Smith's accompaniment on guitar and clawhammer banjo provides "a traditional . . . rich, true sound" to their Appalachian Americana music. Steve has a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University with a major emphasis in Appalachian music and folklife, and is the recipient of the Cratis Williams Fellowship in Appalachian Studies. He teaches workshops nationally at festivals and folk schools (click here) on guitar, clawhammer banjo, ukulele, recording, songwriting, copyrights & publishing, live sound reinforcement, and performing techniques.


In Heirlooms (click here) Steve and Ruth play and sing the music reminiscent of the old homeplace where family, love, faith, and sense of place are the foundations of heritage and traditions. Heirlooms is new collection of music from Steve and Ruth which includes 10 of their original songs plus four others. The music from Heirlooms was featured in 2012 on the national PBS TV series "Song of the Mountains." This CD features hammered dulcimer, old-time banjo, guitar, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, fiddle, flute, and percussion in both vocal songs and instrumental tunes.

Steve and Ruth's CD An Appalachian Winter (click here) has received wide national recognition and sales since its 2009 Christmas season release with Wisconsin Public Radio saying it was "the best new acoustic instrumental CD of the season." Carol Swanson of ChristmasReviews.com says An Appalachian Winter "is all about gorgeously interwoven, homespun instrumentals, providing beautiful organic colors and earthy textures, lightly tossed with Celtic flourishes ." (read entire review) It has received extensive airplay over both terrestrial and internet radio nationwide. Steve and Ruth have created a unique peaceful offering with An Appalachian Winter

Steve and Ruth's CD Dancin Cross the Strings (click here) features more of their original music as well as traditional Celtic and Appalachian tunes. It was a 2009 nominee in the JPF International Music Awards, the world's largest awards for independently produced music. Over 42,000 albums were submitted for the 2009 awards from over 160 countries. Less than 1/3 of 1% of the CDs submitted were nominated. NPR, XM & Sirius satellite radio, Internet radio such as, Pandora, Spotify, Highlander Radio, Celtic Moon and Mountain Legacy, as well as acoustic music format broadcast radio stations around the U.S. are all featuring and programming their music.

An Appalachian Aire CD hammered dulcimer guitar blue ridge mountains
Steve and Ruth's first CD release
An Appalachian Aire (click here) gained national attention in 2006 being chosen by XM satellite radio as “The Best Music This Week on XM.” Songs from this CD are still in daily rotation on XM & Sirius satellite radio and on major airlines coast-to-coast, as well as on acoustic Americana music format radio stations throughout the nation. The title song, written by Ruth, was featured on NPR’s on-line show “All Songs Considered.” This CD reflects their Scots-Irish heritage, Ruth's classical music training and Steve's mountain folk roots.



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