Musings in Covidopolis

Let's Face It 

This past year of having all 2020 concerts cancelled (or indefinitely rescheduled) while tackling parenting (I'm a mum of 2 boys) plus trying to maintain creative impulse...has been virtually annihilating on so many levels!

I know I am not alone in this and consider myself incredibly fortunate to have, at least, a few sparse hours here and there to still break away into the silence to work on new songs and direction. But, truly, I kiss the ground where more than a few hours at a time of space, quiet and peacefulness come to me. This year has been a thunderbolt, a whirlwind, a karmic kick in the ass, and I'm not sure what 2021 will bring for myself and my fellow composers and musician friends.

But, I remain ever-hopeful, optimistic that the possibility of getting a touring calendar for 2021 up an going by mid-summer might be an option. I hold space for this hope, and hope (for you and for me) that kindness, gentleness and humanity will endure through this dark time we have all been facing in one way or another.

In Music,


Such a Year! =) 

2019 brought so much richness, great change and new direction to my journeys in life and music!

"Falling Down at Onehorse Creek" (Vol 1) digital EP was released! =) 

I also added a beautiful therapy harp to my little harp family, the Christina harp by Triplett Harps. It came into my life just like my other beautiful Thormahlen harp did in 2018, through a kindred spirit in music who had originally purchased the harp to use in a clinical setting, but then never ended up taking it out of the case! It is wonderful to have for settings where a larger harp is not a practical option. 

2020 is already filling up fast with performance dates, and a Northern California mini-tour featuring concerts and sound soaking sessions at a few hot springs locations! I'm so excited to see where the year's adventures take me next....

Thank you Friends for your ever-steady Love & Support in Music! It means the world.

~R u t h 

Silence as Failure? 

I'm thinking a lot today about what silence means in my life as an artist, musician and woman.

I hear from other artists & musicians lately about silence as a form of failure.

As a woman in modern culture, I am told by pretty much every social media platform, magazine and popular book on the best-seller list to raise my voice, to make myself heard, to be unashamedly myself, to not be silent. 

I want to talk about this.

First, of all, what makes "failure" such a special doom-word that creatives love to give energy to?

Why would my beautiful, passionate, effervescently inspired, fired-up, bad-ass creative artist/maker/musician friends even give the word "failure" a place in their lexicon?

And, what are the metrics for being a "successful" person?

Is there something inherently lame about silence?

Is silence a form of giving up on one's dreams, creativity, or purpose?

Here's what I have to say about that as an artist, musician and as a woman:

In my world as a composer, songwriter and musician and deeply introverted soul, MOST of the time is a good time for silence. =)

Keeping silence is necessary for getting deeply in touch with what matters most in the present moment.   

Silence/stillness is just as important and essential as making noise, too. (Noise is my silly way of saying making art & music, tee hee =) btw)

Silence shows me where I am, what I'm feeling, where I'm coming from and where I want to go.

I understand the pressure of being a musician who wants to get her work out there, too. I put my compositions out for licensing. I make albums. I perform. I use music as a healing modality. I engage. I do all of these things, but I'm not what you'd call a "successful" artist by social media, or Spotify or any other kind of mass metric following.

So, does me taking silence mean that I am a failure as a musician, an artist, a woman (LOL) if I'm not constantly producing, producing, producing, and selling, selling, selling?!?!?!?

What is this drive really about?

Have we forgotten we are a part of a deep lineage of Renaissance nobodies who simply do what they love for the sheer interest, pleasure and satisfaction the work brings?

There is nothing new to an artist living out his or her quiet life while being prolific in their work, and dying with nothing (by way of glamour, celebrity status, or wealth) to show for. This is not a new thing. Living a quiet life, doing one's work, whether shared or not (!!!!!) is a PLEASURE.

Are you enjoying yourself? Are you loving your work and your life? Are you in love with the process? These are questions to sit with in silence.

Stop giving "failure" a second thought. What a silly word...perhaps it is simply a "man's" problem anyway? Its own etymological history is based in late 17th c. Anglo-Norman crop-related roots anyway, referring to a cessation of (or non) supply. In the creative's world, the supply is BOUNDLESS, without lack, since the supply comes from the Source/Muse itself!

As a woman composer, songwriter and musician, I will continue to be grateful for this boundless richness, this deep well that must sometimes be dug and up and then allowed to settle in silence so that the healing waters may continue to flow!

Silence is definitely *not failure.

With much heart, pleasure, feeling, passion, with love and humanity, I offer these thoughts!

Thanks for reading, =)


New Harp! 

After taking a brief hiatus from music performance following the birth of my second son and the completion of my Master's degree in Comparative Religion & Philosophy, I am happy to announce a successful re-entry back into the world of music where my heart is most gratefully happy!

If it weren't for the gentle nudges, encouragement and loyal support of dear friends in music, family and life, I may not have been ready! Some times you must put aside all the reasons why not...."not a good time"..."not ready"..."not sure"....and bravely follow the heart back to its home. Music is my home, and I am so excited for what this next year holds for that expression.

Take good care out there! ~


Artist-Of-The-Month Endorsement for K&K Sound! 

Ruth Chadd



I couldn’t be happier with the crystalline quality that K&K amplification adds to my harp, both in live performances and studio recordings! We used a custom K&K system based on the Big Twin in my new album, and my engineer/producer was totally impressed by the quality!

As one fan stated, the voice of indie singer-songwriter Ruth Chadd (performing as 'Ruth Beck') “…stands out among many.” Ruth rings crystal clear as a woman of poetic voice – having been compared numerous times to the vocal nuances of Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones – and then there is she, “…unmistakably original and not be missed.” Known as a vocalist for her arresting soul-filled lyricism, as well as her unique and improvisational approach on harp (her instrument of choice, though she is classically trained on piano), Ruth’s original compositions conjure the best of folk and Americana in a way that is uniquely her own. Her solo debut EP “Closer Than Danger” was released in August 2015, and is already garnishing national attention.

Ruth performs and records on Thormahlen and Dusty Strings harps, of which both instruments have been installed with the K&K Big Twin custom pickup &Pure Preamp. Her recent EP release was recorded in Houston, TX using the K&K system along with Schoeps microphones, which gave the music a dynamic energy all its own.

Her just-released “Closer Than Danger” album was mastered by one of the most trusted ears in the music industry, Grammy-award winning mastering engineer, Bernie Grundman. Ruth’s latest custom harp, built by Oregon harp builder Dave Thormahlen, will also be installed with the K&K Big Twin pickup.

Twitter @harpgeek
Instagram roothwrites

Time for a New Harp ~ 

A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting the dynamic harp-designing/building duo in Sharon & Dave Thormahlen, makers of Thormahlen harps, fine contemporary lever harps that are known worldwide. I had played on a small number of Thormahlen harps in the past couple years and was very drawn to them as the quality and care put into each instrument is unsurpassed. However, I had not yet found one that matched my playing. A harp is one of those instruments you must feel sings and resonates on a deeply personal level. It must make you WANT to sing with it, not be a chore to play! At this year's Handmade Musical Instrument Show put on by the Portland Guitar Society, I was able to test play a newer model of Thormahlen harps called the Ceili (pronounced Kay-lee). It is made with the traditional Irish player in mind...which I certainly am NOT! However, I immediately bonded with the instrument and fell in love!

All that to say, after making a few trips down to the Thormahlen workshop and test playing on the Ceili for a month of performances around the NW, I am now in the process of having my very own Ceili custom built! Pics to come...

Take care out there ~


Here's a pic of me in Mt. Shasta with a lovely Thormahlen Ceili harp that I had the wonderful enjoyment of playing on while touring in California recently. 

Debut Album Release & Other Meanderings...! 

This week I am enjoying the sincere pleasure of getting to listen to the final mixes of the 6 featured songs on my upcoming debut album, "Closer Than Danger". I've worked as a backup vocalist and musician on a small number of other wonderful musicians' projects in the past, but to work on my very own material has taken my appreciation of the recording process to a whole new level! -- at times inspiring, challenging, intense, mercurial, and deeply satisfying. 

The "Closer Than Danger" project officially began this past September 2014, but  has been many years in the making. It is just a handful of a few of my songs that made themselves available to my hands on an instrument I am largely still newly acquainted with, the Celtic harp. Having a background in Classical piano, it would have been much easier to perform/record the pieces on that instrument. However, the soundscape possibilities available on harp inspire me in both composition, arrangement and live performance.

I suppose I'll never quite understand the way stars cross and paths diverge. Devoting oneself to the Creative path means feeling both scared as hell and mind-bendingly liberated in equal measure! And I wouldn't trade it! My hope is that in sharing these few songs, anyone listening will also be inspired to new levels of personal and spiritual clarity that still exist (and always have & always will) in the Universe...Closer Than Danger! 

Just a few more weeks before the album is available in both downloadable digital & CD format!

Take care out there my dear ones ~ Ruth

Off to the Big Island! 

What a busy year it has been, full of so many memorable adventures! My musical travels this year have included tours through Northern New Mexico, with its grand spiritual beauty of the mountain high places of Santa Fe and Taos, to Albuquerque.

Then there has been Texas, from recording in cosmopolitan and music history-filled Houston to the salty, gulf-shrimp beaches of Galveston to the rolling hills of East Texas and Nacogdoches.

Also new adventures in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California, with concerts overlooking stunning Mt. Shasta.

In Washington, concerts in Gig Harbor, Tri-Cities and (in my opinion anyway) Washington's best kept secret, Port Townsend. Not to mention, playing concerts throughout Oregon including so many memorable ones here in my home town of Portland, OR!

And now to celebrate a new year (and my birthday, which happens to be New Year's Eve!) I'm off to beautiful Kona, Hawaii for the first time for a few house concerts on the big island. Instead of bringing my Dusty Strings 34-string Celtic harp along for the journey, I will be renting a harp from a local harpist on the island during my stay, which will make the oversea travel much more comfortable! 

Looking forward to catching a little of that Aloha vibe I have heard so much about, and, most of all, meeting new people along the way. These are the things that make being a traveling musician so rewarding. So much more to come ~ HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS!

And passion grows... 

It was only 2 months ago that I flew my Dusty Strings harp down to Houston, TX to hole up for a few days of beginning work on a new album featuring new songs on a new instrument in a new time...

I can't say enough just how truly excited I am about the sounds coming out of that original session! At its inception, my idea was to make a shining 3-4 song demo EP. After the first recording session, however, that number organically grew to 6 songs! As the process continues to unfold, it is now apparent that what we are really working on is a full-length LP, my first solo album!

And so, my friends, please stay on the lookout for updates on this creative process...soon to be my LP debut release, "Closer Than Danger", featuring both my new and tempered originals arranged and performed on Celtic harp & vocals. I know...sounds weird...just how I like it!  ;)

6-song EP Successfully Recorded! 

Well, to any who have been keeping up with my music whereabouts, just an update that both my 34-string Dusty Strings harp & myself arrived intact in Houston, TX on September 25th, recorded 6 songs on harp and vocals & safely returned to Portland, OR this past week! 

Already the rough mixes are just shimmering! I couldn't be happier with the masterful engineering and producing magic of Erich Avinger & his wonderful studio where I was made totally at ease.

I will, of course, send a shout out as soon as the album is released! But, for now I am offering Pre-Order of "Closer than Danger" digital albums here that will ensure you get high-quality download of the full album the moment it is released. If you'd prefer to wait for a copy "in hand", CD digipaks & Deluxe CD digipaks (featuring photo booklet and liner notes) will be ready to order in the near future as well!

Happy trails & Thank you ALL again for your continued love, support & encouragement.
"Just a pal along the path"...Love you all,

~ Ruth