Melissa Ruth will play a trio of shows in Kaslo

Melissa Ruth rides the mercury

Winlaw musician will play trio of Kootenay shows in Winlaw, Kaslo and Nelson.

Doo-wop twang artist Melissa Ruth is embarking on an annual pilgrimage to the West Kootenay to play a trio of shows in Kaslo, Nelson and Winlaw in support of her latest album Riding Mercury.

“The temperature goes up, the temperature goes down,” said Ruth, explaining what the album’s title means to her. “Most of the songs in the album explore that idea of really high highs, and really low lows, and how we’re always riding it out.”

Ruth said audiences can expect an intimate performance.

“There is a vulnerability to many of the songs on this record so I am looking forward to having the opportunity to play these songs in cozy listening spaces. As a songwriter, I love making that creative and personal connection with my audience. I don’t always get to do that when I’m performing with a full band.”

Shortly after the success of her last album Ain’t No Whiskey, Ruth was experiencing a number of personal and professional successes when her mother became seriously ill. She grappled with stress and depression, and that soul-searching was the creative impetus behind Riding Mercury.

“Some of the songs are really dark, and some not so much. But they’re all bound by this idea,” she said.

Ruth, who grew up in Winlaw and started out as an acoustic singer-songwriter, has started to take inspiration from New Orleans’ music. “During the time we were making Ain’t No Whiskey, I was listening to a lot of New Orleans music. They’ve got culture. History. Soul. Pain. And the heat, I mean I’ve never been but I’ve always had this romantic notion of it. I’m in love with this city I’ve never been to,” she said.

“I guess I was feeling really Pacific Northwest-y, cold, miserable and rainy. I was romanticizing this place full of passion, soul and lust.”

At first she resisted the idea of getting better sound and music equipment.

“I’m a bit of a purist. My opinion has always been who needs a great sounding guitar if you’re writing good songs? I’ll just pound it on my acoustic. This was like 10 years ago. But then, accidentally, believe it or not, I bought a guitar that changed everything for me.”

That’s when she developed her sound, which she calls doo-wop twang.

“When we go to the blues club and play blues, they’re like ‘that’s not blues’. And when we’re in the country bar playing country they’re like ‘that’s not country’,” she said.

But her sound is still distinctly rural, and many of her tracks are sparse and instrumental.

“I’m hugely influenced by the fact I grew up around mountains and rivers. There’s not a shred of urbanism in my music,” she said.

Ruth will play a show at Blue Belle Bistro in Kaslo at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 17. The next day she’ll be at Sleep is for Sissies in Winlaw at 6:30 p.m. Her Nelson show at Cafe Momento is on Tuesday, October 21 at 8 p.m.

For more information visit


Just Posted

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Seven Nelson rec projects granted Columbia Basin Trust funding

Nelson’s baseball and tennis clubs were the big winners

Sanchez leads Leafs to 6th straight win

Nelson held off Spokane 3-2 on Friday

UPDATE: Two-car accident closes Highway 3A at Thrums

Road expected to open for single-lane alternating traffic at 2 p.m.

1919: Hudson’s Bay Company gets an addition, council votes to exclude ‘undesirable enemy aliens’

Greg Scott brings us five Nelson Daily News stories from a century ago

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

No Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna this summer: organizers

COG organizers said the hope is to return to the Okanagan in 2020

Most Read