Artist profile: Dave Ruch

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2023

Genre Style: Folk/Blues

Performance: 3 p.m. Sunday, First Presbyterian Church, Ironton

How did the project start?

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My interest in America’s traditional music began back in the 1980s, as did my love for The Grateful Dead.

This project was put together during the early months of the pandemic shutdown as a series of online performances.

What are three adjectives to describe your style?

Fascinating, riveting, playful.

Walk us through your creative process. Does it vary, if so, how?

For this show, my goal is to track down the folk, blues, jug band and Appalachian sources of some of the Grateful Dead’s most well-known songs – Casey Jones, Stagger Lee, Peggy-O, Cold Rain and Snow – these are all songs that come right out of earlier American folklore and traditions.

The challenge is to present the songs for modern audiences who may not be at all familiar with the Grateful Dead’s music.

How has your art evolved since you started?

I’d like to think that it’s become more nuanced and polished, and another real evolution for me has been the combination of music performance and the presentation of great stories about the music.

What is your favorite creative tool, and why?

The guitar.

It’s the instrument I began this journey on back in 1980.

As I embraced it and ran with it. It made me more confident as a writer knowing my place.

What about being an artist fills your cup? Why should others take interest in the arts? 

The arts are an individual calling, both as an appreciator and a practitioner. It’s something you’re either drawn to or you’re not.

For me, I can’t imagine my life without it.

Any advice for new or struggling artists?

There are lots of ways to make a wonderful life – and indeed a fulltime profession – with your art, and most of those ways don’t involve being famous or becoming a household name.

One thing that I find stops a lot of people is this idea that there’s only one way to do music for a living.

I’ve written a whole blog to help others on this journey.

It is