Steve & Ruth Smith make MerleFest debut

Article Published: Apr. 28, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Steve & Ruth Smith make MerleFest debut

Watauga County musicians Steve and Ruth Smith are making their debut appearances this year at MerleFest 2011.

The Smiths play a unique blend of Celtic Appalachian music, featuring hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, clawhammer banjo, guitar and vocals.

"We've wanted to be a part of the MerleFest family for many years," Steve Smith said, "and are very excited for this opportunity. The entire Watson family is a great example of how our Appalachian mountain music is a social, family music, where folks get together just for the joy of playing music."

The Smiths' brand new vocal CD, "Heirlooms," is being released this week to coincide with their MerleFest appearances. The CD features 10 Smith originals about family life, faith and heritage in Appalachia, plus several traditional mountain favorites.

Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine writes, "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."

Steve, an ASCAP award-winning songwriter, adds fingerstyle guitar, clawhammer banjo and vocals to the duo.

The Smiths' CD, "An Appalachian Aire," gained national attention in 2006, being chosen by XM Radio as "The Best Music This Week on XM." Their "Dancin Cross the Strings" CD was a "Roots Music" nominee in the 2009 JPF International Music Awards, the world's largest awards for independently produced music. Of Steve and Ruth's "An Appalachian Winter" Christmas CD, Wisconsin Public Radio said it was "the best new acoustic instrumental CD of the (2009) season."

Steve and Ruth Smith will perform on the Traditional Stage at 11 a.m. on Friday and on the Mayes Pit Stage at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday. As part of MerleFest Educational Outreach Program, the Smiths will also perform Thursday morning at Millers Creek Elementary School in Wilkesboro and will be signing their CDs at the MerleFest autograph tent at 12:15 p.m. on Friday.
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