Melissa Ruth has developed a term for her specific brand of blues and rock mixed with country: "Doo-Wop Twang."
“I want my songs to sound like the vastness of the rural countryside that provides so much of the backdrop of the music itself,” says Ruth.
She explains that, for her, Doo-Wop Twang is a sound that encompasses “the space of blues, the teeth of country, and the grit of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Ruth has earned that grit through over 30,000 miles of touring across the country with Midnight Darlins, the band she fronts along with her husband, and coming home to Douglas County, a rural area of Oregon, where she runs the school district’s music department as the sole band and choir teacher.
After teaching music in Douglas County for 10 years, it’s work she’s passionate about. “I really believe that all students—especially students of poverty—should have access to high-quality music education in public schools,” says Ruth.
She adds, “Many of the characters I write are inspired by people here—their grit, determination, love of family, and sadder tales as well. Stories of isolation, addiction, loneliness.” Drawing inspiration from the tapestry of humanity around and bolstered by sheer resolve, Ruth is also preparing to release her latest album, Meteor, due out March 1.
“Hey Mr. Bartender” offers a taste of the new album. Written in less than 12 hours, it is what Ruth calls “a meditation on American life over the last 20 years.”