Kill Devil blues
From Kill Devil Hills and packing a cigar box guitar among her arsenal of instruments comes North Carolina musician Ruth Wyand.
Described as a “the tribe of one”, the one-woman band of Ruth will perform at Wairoa’s EastEnd Cafe on Saturday. Wyand, a 2017 finalist, and 2018 semi-finalist, in the International Blues Challenge, is known for her powerful, intricate picking style, alternating thumb bass, bottleneck slide and multiple foot drums.
“I am a guitar player who sings and writes and has a sarcastic sense of humour,” says Ryand on her website.
“If I have to classify it my music is blues Americana, roots, singer/songwriter, blue jazz, contemporary folk with a little Hendrix.”
Ryand got into the blues as a child when her white neighbourhood went from 100 percent white to 99 percent black, she says.
While on her way to guitar lessons, a neighbour, Mr Mac, would yell “Ruthie, go learn a blues song for me”.
“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.”
From his milk crate full of albums Mr Mac helped Ryand become familiar with Memphis Minnie, Big Mama Thornton, and six-fingered Hound Dog Taylor
“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,” she says.