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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.

THE TRIBE OF ONE: “She sings like an angel, plays guitar like a demon and creates a mighty sound,” said John Porter of North Carolina blues artist Ruth Wyand in a Time For The Blues radio show. The multi-instrumentalist is now about to storm Wairoa. Picture supplied