Memphis music is something written about, spoken of, and shared daily. The city that was grounded by eras of musical talent sees no lack of new artists living out their passion. An example of one artist doing this is Faith Evans Ruch, who has gained noteworthy attention outside of her “heart and soul” that is Memphis. Described as folk/Americana/country, her voice is soulful and sultry, and her songs are an authentic blend of something one could dance to in a Midtown hot spot and hear in a relaxed coffee shop. Recently returning from Folk Alliance International and a release party for her latest music video for a track called “Rock Me Slow,” Faith talks about her newest projects and shares her favorite fellow musicians and venues in the city.
Where did you get the name for your first album, 1835 Madison?
1835 Madison Ave. is the original address for Neil’s Bar and Music Room before it burned down and relocated to the Quince location in East Memphis. They had “Folk Ups” every Monday night that were three singer-songwriters in the round. It’s where I met and fell in love with my first muse and the musicians who have become my closest friends over the past five years, and who helped me learn to play guitar in the first place. It was only right to name my first album after the bar where all of the memories and songs began.
What’s different from your newest EP, After It’s Said & Done, from 1835 Madison?
1835 Madison was a full length album featuring 10 original songs and one cover with full band accompaniment on every song. I released that album on CD. After It’s Said & Done is a solo/acoustic abbreviated album (essentially what an EP is) with 4 songs on vinyl and 2 bonus tracks for mP3 download. It’s a stripped-down, rawer presentation of some of my new songs since the first album.
What was it like recording your newly released music video, and why did you choose the location you did?
I shot the video at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, MS with Edward Valibus in the director’s chair and Ryan Earl Parker at the camera. I worked with both guys on my first music video for PBR Song off of my first album, and it was quite the success. That video was nominated for an On Location Film Fest award last year, which Edward actually won for another video he directed for the Grifters. I also just found out PBR Song has been selected as one of the music videos for the Crossroads Film Festival April 9th in Jackson, MS. The level of skill and professionalism and good work compatibility between us was my primary reason for deciding to work with Edward again. He has great visions for my songs and the Shack up Inn was his idea. It presented the “boarded up, drowning my sorrows in a blues shack” feel that I think the song oozes with.
Which Memphis musicians have influenced you?
As big of a Memphis music fan as I am, I don’t have a lot specifically from Memphis that I usually list as influences to my own music, but I can DEFINITELY tell you some of my current local favorites that inspire and motivate me to keep working hard (by the way, this is a super hard question, as I can’t list the 20+ artists who have change my life in this music community). I’m a big Memphis Dawls, Dead Soldiers, Marcella & Her Lovers, Ghost Town Blues Band, and Mark Edgar Stuart fan. I’ve also had the pleasure of playing shows with Travis Roman, Damfool String Band, Nick Black, and working with artists like Luther Dickinson, Rick Steff, Paul Taylor, and Josh Roberts on my first album. All of the shows I’ve seen and artists I’ve worked with in this city have definitely made me a better musician. If I left anyone out, I apologize; there are so many I love!
What are your favorite places to perform?
In Memphis, I really like playing at Otherlands, HiTone, and the Cove, which is where I’ve played the most recently. I really, really miss Newby’s, but with that being said, it’s pretty cool to have Skinny McCabe over at the HiTone now!
What’s next for you?
I’m taking my Southern roots to California in May to play some shows. I’ll be at the House of Blues Sunset Strip May 8th and I’m working on getting others set. Locally, my next show will be at Murphy’s on Madison April 17th.
To hear some of Faith’s music and see her tour schedule, visit faithevansruch.com.