Ruth Wyand & The Tribe of One from Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina is a one-woman-band with the dynamic power of a 3 piece band through her use of foot drums with alternating thumb and fingerstyle picking. A prolific songwriter Ruth has released five albums of mostly original material. She was an International Blues Challenge finalist in 2017 and semi-finalist in 2018. She is a North Carolina Humanities Council Roads Scholar, a recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council grant to teach a Blues in The School program, she has traveled to varies parts of the world presenting a performance documentary called “Mama’s Got The Blues”, a history of blues women. She received a grant from the US State Department as a part of a Cultural Exchange Program to travel to Kuwait to perform and teach American music styles, she is the music director for two non-profit music programs - a school of rock and blues for kids ages 8 through 17 and a band for Special Needs Adults. In 2020 Ruth will be starting the Women in Blues Music Education program.
This One Woman band doesn’t slow down from performing, writing and teaching the blues. Graham Clarke from Blues Bytes magazine says “Ruth Wyand has what it takes to keep the “one-man/woman band” tradition going with her excellent work on guitar and foot drums, her strong, clear vocals, and her unique songwriting abilities. Her latest CD ‘Tribe of One’ should be required listening for serious blues fans”.
IN MY OWN WORDS
I am a guitar player who sings and writes and has a sarcastic sense of humor. Throughout my 100 or so years of playing I haven’t been able to lock in on a style that fits neatly into a specific category. If I have to classify it my music is defiantly Blues Americana, Roots, singer/songwriter, blue jazz, contemporary folk with a little Hendrix.
I grew up in a family with six sisters and two brothers. With eleven people in a small four bedroom, one and half bath house there were a lot of musical influences You might ask yourself ‘self’ how did a white girl from Atlantic City, NJ learn the blues?
The answer is “white flight”. When I was about ten years old my perfect little white neighborhood went from 100% white to 99% Black. My family was the only family that refused to relocate. One of my new neighbors was a guy name Mr. Mac from Durham NC. He was a huge black man with a big heart and a strong love for family, church and blues music. On my way to the bus stop for my guitar lesson on Saturday mornings I would pass by Mr. Mac’s house. He would be working in his yard or washing his car and always listening to music a boom box. With my little guitar in the red and black plaid bag I would walk by and he would yell over to me “Ruthie go learn a blues song for me”. I had no idea what he was talking about. When I asked my guitar teacher what a blues song was he said it was Johnnie B. Goode slowed down. So I slowed it way down and played it for Mr Mac. He said yes “deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans” now that’s the blues alright but you need to hear a few more. He had a milk crate full of albums. I went through all of them studying every picture. Memphis Minnie holding a guitar, Big Mama Thornton ‘The Original Hound Dog’, Hound Dog Taylor with six fingers. He played cassette after cassette of blues, jazz, R&B, even Hank Williams, the Allman Brothers, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. I was intrigued, hooked and scared at the same time and I still am.