At an early age, Faith Evans Ruch was charmed by the evocative nature of lyrics and chords. Though she dreamed of playing guitar, she only briefly took piano lessons and mostly confined her artistic expression to poetry. Later, after moving to the secluded mountains of Montana, she sought out a songwriting class to help hone her skills.
In 2010, Ruch graduated from the University of Memphis, Loewenberg School of Nursing and began work as a registered nurse in labor and delivery at Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women in Memphis, Tennessee. She has won awards for her high level of commitment and outstanding service as a nurse.
In the summer of 2011, Ruch decided to give in to her muse, pick up a guitar, and pour out her heart. Determined to finally learn to create music, she played day and night until her fingers bled—“so I’d know I was working hard enough,” she says.
Inspiration arrived in spades. Her very first song, the autobiographical “Your Soul,” neatly summarizes her tale: “I learned guitar so I could play/the words my lips would never say.”
Ruch had found her voice. Armed with a newfound confidence and a fresh batch of songs, she recorded her first album. She released 1835 Madison in 2013. Dubbed “too good to be a debut” by music critic Silver Michaels, the record announced Ruch’s arrival on the musical map.
In the months following the release, Faith got on the road, sharing her songs in dive bars from Nashville to New Orleans. Her sophomore release is a 10-inch vinyl EP called After It’s Said & Done. She now works part-time as a nurse. A flexible schedule helps her to successfully manage both careers.
Who are your main influences?
I’m a sucker for classic country like Patsy Cline, but throw that in with some soulful Janis Joplin, and then add in great singer-songwriters like John Prine, and that’s what really influences me.
Why do you continue to make music?
Making music is therapy for me. It’s meditative. It takes mental focus. It requires you to feel. It’s also a great escape mentally. You can live anywhere and any way you want to in a song.
How do you continue to learn?
Practice, practice, practice. My buddy Nick Black gives me a lesson here and there. He’s a phenomenal musician. That helps with the guitar part. As for the songwriting, I learn by challenging myself to write outside of myself, whether it is making up stories or looking to other people for inspiration.
What benefits have you found to making music?
Making music has made my life better. You can purge your emotions and clean out your soul when you put together chords and words. For me, singing my heart out is like having a good cry, or even a celebration.
How do you make time for music in your life?
When I was in my early 20s I would work 12-hour shifts, go play open mic nights and set breaks for other artist’s gigs until 1:00-2:00 a.m., then get back up for work again at 6:00 a.m. Now in my late 20s, that sounds painful, so I went part-time. I can work full-time hours many weeks if I’d like. That way I can schedule work around my gigs and touring. Making that shift in my schedule gave me a lot more control over how I invest my time in both of my careers, while still being able to pay rent, bills, and make more music.
What advice do you have for someone getting back into music later in life?
It’s never too late. Most of my musician friends have been playing since they were kids, but I didn’t even start to teach myself until I was 23. Pick up your instrument, play around with some chords, find words that rhyme and describe how you feel, and do yourself a favor and make some music!
What is the best memory you have of making music?
When I wrote my first song just two months after picking up a guitar for the first time. It’s called “Your Soul.” I played it for some of my close friends, fellow local musicians, and they sat there with their mouths open, asking, “Wait, you wrote that?!” Their shock, followed by a lot of high fives, was the confidence kick-start that I needed to continue to write and make more great musical memories.