I had the privilege of talking to the one and only Ruthie Collins who is a tremendous singer songwriter. She was born in Fredonia, NY, currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee and sings like an authentic Bluegrasser. She was raised on a beautiful 13 acre grape farm that has been in her family for over 200 years. Ruthie was the baby of four girls; started singing, playing piano and violin under her mom’s guidance at age 3. When Ruthie was 18, she left her tiny town and headed to Boston where she attended Berklee College of Music for 3 1/2 years, just one semester shy of graduating. She moved to Nashville in 2006 to be a songwriter.
I have always heard you should not meet or talk to the ones you are a big fan of or look up to. Well, all I can tell you is that Ruthie did not disappoint. She is one of the most sincere and humble individuals I have ever spoke with. Years ago I was flipping around through underground country music and I came across Ruthie. As soon as I heard the old-school country bluegrass sound about love and heartbreak, I was hooked right away. In my mind Ruthie Collins is one of the best singer songwriters in Nashville today. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did because I feel it is 100 percent real and to use one word to best describe Ruthie, Vintage.
B Chord – So Ruthie, you are one of my favorite artists because you are true to yourself and the true vintage country and bluegrass sound!!
Ruthie Collins – Oh, thank you so much!
B Chord – Tell us a little about the writing process of “Get Drunk and Cry.” Will that be the new album title? Is this newly written or a song you have had for a while?
Ruthie Collins – Yes, so “Get Drunk and Cry” will be my single going out to country radio and it will also be the title track of the album as well. I guess when we were thinking of the title of the album that just was not an obvious one that stood out for me. Then the label said “So we think the album should be titled “Get Drunk and Cry”. I said “Well, ok, I think I could be that girl then.” I am really happy we went with that title because it really does stand out. I am not sure that every song on the album requires you to get drunk and cry, but there is a theme there. It’s all good. I actually wrote that song about 5 years ago with my friend Luke Sheets as we were talking about a relationship I was in at the time. I described the night I had with this guy and told him that as I went into the night, I just knew I was going to get drunk and cry. Luke then said, wait! Is that a thing? I said no I knew I was already upset and I know you are supposed to go out and get drunk after with friends. I knew if I went out with them for more drinks it would happen. Right then, he said we have to write a song about this. It really became a verb so to speak.
B Chord – I saw a little of the short video for it. Where was it filmed?
Ruthie Collins – We filmed in Nashville. Actually, what we have done is filmed a mini visual album to go with the record. It will be released on October 17th 2017. It consists of five of the songs on the album. It begins with a song entitled “Getting Out There” and then goes into “Get Drunk and Cry”, “Boys and Beaches”, “You Don’t” and ends with “Pink Bic Lighter”. The videos have the same characters, the same common thread and story line. There are monologues in between this girl’s journey of “Get Drunk and Cry” fiasco. We filmed all over, but much of it was done in East Nashville. “Getting Out There” was filmed at a really cool bar called Crying Wolf and we also filmed at the American Legion in Inglewood Post 82. It was so fun! “Boys and Beaches” was filmed out at the lake. It is really more like boys and lakes lol. “You Don’t” was filmed in East Nashville, a little bit in my house and “Pink Bic Lighter” was filmed in this amazing party house we found online. So, yes all of the video was filmed right here in Nashville!
B Chord – I have to say I feel the true vintage country sound is working its way back in today’s country music. . How do you see that taking form?
Ruthie Collins – It is so exciting! I am a big music fan and I truly enjoy all genres. I think country music has brought in almost all the genres. In the 90’s, you could be in an alternative band or a folk band or a hot ac band. That is still out there, but I feel that country music has absorbed a lot of those sub-genres and now everything is country! I think that while that can be fun and cool and gives us such diversity in the genre, I am excited to hear some super country stuff on the radio again. That is truly what I love!
B Chord – Has it been a struggle having more of that country bluegrass sound while trying to make it on today’s radio?
Ruthie Collins – I think so. There have definitely been times when publishers in town will say “we only want pop songs.” There are also a lot of artists in town that will not cut a song by a Nashville writer anymore because everything has gone so pop. It is a struggle for all of us who got into this genre for the vintage sound and song writing. However, everything is cyclical and it all comes back around and sticks out. So yes it is very exciting!
B Chord – What has been the favorite song you have ever written?
Ruthie Collins – Oh gosh. I have no idea. Well let me think for a second. The typical response is the one that I wrote yesterday because an artist whether they are painters or writer or poets, the last is always the favorite. There are songs that I really enjoyed the process of writing and you put them out in the world and they are all your babies. The ones that are received well by people become your favorites. There is a song on the album called “Mockingbird” and it is my Mom’s favorite so I love playing that song live. I can dedicate it to my Mom and all the Mom’s that are at the show in the crowd. I wrote that song with one of my best friends, Jessica Roadcap, so that has a lot of meaning to me. I have literally written thousands of songs, so to pick one is really hard for me.
B Chord – I know Tom Petty was one of your idols in music. How did he inspire you and which of his songs is your favorite?
Ruthie Collins – That would definitely have to be “Wildflowers”. I found Tom Petty in college through some friends that just loved him so much. I was just talking to another friend the other day about this and really Tom Petty taught us what was cool. He taught us what type of gear we should play, how to just stick to your guns and your career and if something doesn’t feel right don’t do it. There is the story about how he said “No you aren’t going to use my success to make cd’s $22.00. That is not something he was going to let his fans deal with even though the label said we can charge that much and get it. He taught us so much of just how to be in this business. I feel that I will always remember my Mom telling me where she was when Princes Diana died. I feel the same way about Tom Petty. I was getting on the on ramp at Trinity Lane in Nashville and it came on the radio and I was like what?? It was all around just a horrible day.
B Chord – The first time I ever heard Ruthie Collins it was a cover of “Ramblin’ Man”. Gosh, I love that song! How did you come up with that version and where were you when you recorded?
Ruthie Collins – Well, to be totally honest with you, I was just trying to do something that would make my record label want to release a single. This is basically what I try to do every day. I was sitting in a recording studio with my producer, Curt Gibbs and we were working on another song and we were talking about Avichi. Do you remember that Avichi song that was out “Hey Brother”? I remember asking him “hey what is this.” Curt was really into Pop music which is why some of these elements have wound up on my CD. So, I asked him “what is this? “ I really like this until the dance beat comes in lol. He said this guy is just a DJ and he sampled this song and I said wait a minute, has anyone ever done this in country? Curt said I really don’t know. So I said we have to do this! I mean right now! So I told him I truly mean right now, let’s do this. So we thought about a classic country song that reminded us of me. Something that was kind of haunted and sad, I just love sad songs and old country. So Hank Williams immediately came to mind. I started going through songs and when I sang that “I love you baby” part it made me feel like some girl who had this guy saying “yeah I like you so much but I gotta go”. It is the story of every girl in Nashville that is trying to date a musician. So I really related to that and it sounded so forlorn and cool sounding and I said we need to put that in there. Kurt said “Um ok” I then said now make it up tempo more up tempo for me because I knew the record label would it that way. We started playing the up tempo and I googled the lyrics and we recorded the vocal and we never changed the melody. I opened by starting to sing the lyrics and we never stopped knowing we had it! I played it for the label the next day and brought them in on the idea which they loved at first. But, come to find out it was a little too different. The whole process was a different way at going about it and I absolutely loved it.
B Chord – What is Ruthie’s guilty pleasure that we as fans would never guess?
Ruthie Collins – Never guess huh? Oh gosh. I feel pizza is the obvious one. You know I love me some Nick Jonas. That is a guilty pleasure and a record I would put on for a long drive and if I am getting a little sleepy. Also, I really like gin. But that is also one not so surprising to my friends. They know that if I have a gin martini, it is about to get turned up! I can drink beer with the best of them, but if you give me three gin martini’s I am like Wheeewwww! It will definitely be a short night.
B Chord – Tell us a little about Home.Made that you are now in on A&E?
Ruthie Collins – This was a really neat opportunity. I had bought my first house about a year and a half ago. I was doing all of these projects to try and fix it up. In Nashville, it is growing so fast that is really hard to find someone to come over to your house to do a $100 job because they can go four doors down and work on a million dollar renovation. So I had to buy some power tools and learn how to do a lot of things on my own which was a lot of fun. I started posting photos online of all the projects I was currently working on or had finished. We did some web series stuff with a label I was with and we did an Airstream renovation. That web series just came out a week ago, because things have been so crazy with promoting and working on the album. We will be putting that on social media in about a week, I promise. I had a little TV experience and I really liked it so my agent said to me “Hey there is an opportunity for A&E are you interested? They are looking for a duo so do you have anyone in your life that you think you could work with? They are looking for a big personality.” I said, my buddy Danny is a carpenter and he has been helping me out with projects and he is just so goofy. We sent in an audition video and that got my agency so excited. They said do you want your own show? I said yeah of course I would love my own show. We were in the process of shooting a pilot and Amy called and said we want you for this. So we put all of that on hold and I filmed two series’ with A&E and I just love it! It is so much fun.
B Chord – If you had one person in all of Music you could collaborate with whom would it be and why?
Ruthie Collins – Do they have to be living? I mean obviously, Tom Petty comes to mind because of the conversations we were just having. I do have to say it would be a tie between Tom Petty and Emmylou Harris. I really admire her and Dolly the same way. I think these women that have made longevity in the music business their main focus. I want to be singing and performing songs that I wrote on stage when I am 80 years old. That is what I do and love to do and never want to stop doing. When I see all these women out there still writing, producing, touring and involved in all different facets of the music business, I know that is what I want to do. I say to myself, I want to do that and know how to keep that going in my career for that long. Definitely I have to say Emmylou and then be able to hang out with Tom.
B Chord – The song “Dear Dolly” really hits deep to the female artist in country music today. Has Dolly ever reached out to you about the song? The song is truly amazing! How do you feel the genre is doing with female artist on the radio now?
Ruthie Collins – I think that she has heard the song, but we have never talked about it. I know we were supposed to get coffee after her last tour was over. That reminds me, I need to follow up with my manager about that. Lol. It is so sad because I wrote that song about six years ago and at the time I wrote about my record label. I just turned in a full record I spent a year of my life on and they said we hear hits all over like this but women are too hard right now. I wrote that song about that subject because it was just so frustrating and I wished we as female artists had someone to talk to about it so I said well, Dolly would know what to do. I wrote that song with my bud, Natalie Stovall and Jessica Roadcap. It sat around for a few years until the label heard it and said “We need to release this”. I remember saying really you want to release a 6/8 ballad that is over four minutes long about how country radio will not play it? Please don’t do that to me guys, I am so excited about releasing music but that was just so interesting. It also felt a little untimely because the Tomato Gate thing had happened. I have to be honest with you; I feel people are tired of hearing all about it. Statistically it is worse now than it was then and that is really sad. I do feel that we have had some wins as women in country music and they have been big wins. Kelsea Ballarini, Maren Morris, Cam and Lauren Alaina who has a number one now. I just hope that women will continue getting chances because it only gets better and better the more we have wins. A win for one of us is a win for All of Us! People are tired of hearing about it and honestly we are tired of talking about it but it is one of those things about our lifestyle you don’t get to keep quiet. We have to keep talking about it and I truly feel it will get better and better, but Nashville needs to take some ownership of this issue as well. If you don’t sign new talent, you are going to have a record label with only a couple artists that when they need to retire you don’t have anyone to step up. If Nashville doesn’t take some ownership and start signing young talented women, cultivating relationships for them in the publishing world and the record label world it will never get better. I really want to see Nashville get behind this cause. I hear people say you know I started seeing success as a songwriter when I stopped writing songs for girls. These are women saying that and this is so true because if there is no one to produce these songs why write them. It is the whole chicken before the egg problem.
B Chord – So, we have a signature question we ask every artist that we interview. Here it goes. You are stranded on an island and you can take one instrument with you. What would it be and why?
Ruthie Collins – Oh man I would have to take…. Can it be a supernatural desert island where the sun will not hurt the item?
B Chord – Sure it can!
Ruthie Collins – I would have to take my Mom’s piano. I was really thinking a really nice 1960’s Gibson, but I have to be a little sentimental and say her piano. It is a1920’s gorgeous baby grand piano. The soundtrack to my childhood was my Mom playing this piano. She taught piano lessons so there were always kids playing on it. That would be a really special thing to have, so that would be my choice.
Ruthie has done one of the coolest things with her new album release that will be out on October 20th, 2017. She released a mini short film for songs off the album. We have attached the link below and it absolutely amazing. You will probably notice some cameos from Natalie Stovall, Nikita Karmen and Mitchell Lee. Hats off to you Ruthie for such an amazing project and we will be behind you every step of the way! Check out all the links below….
“Get Drunk and Cry” Pre-Order Here – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/get-drunk-and-cry/id1273895234
Website – http://www.ruthiecollinsmusic.com/
Photos from Ruthie Collins Website