After waiting so long for her first public UK performance earlier this year in March at C2C Festival, where an extensive tour with Sam Outlaw followed, the wonderful ray of sunshine from Fredonia, New York Ruthie Collins returned to the UK to play the prestigious Millport Country Music and Nashville Meets London festivals.
Off the back of her acclaimed “Cold Comfort” album, her uplifting positivity and genuine storytelling has been wowing fans up and down the British isles. We last spoke to Ruthie whilst she was quarantined in the Surrey countryside back in 2020 but in the glorious sunshine of Trinity Buoy Wharf ahead of her performance at Nashville Meets London, Jamie caught up with her on her third trip across the pond. It’s so nice to see you and lovely to have you over here again. It took a long time for us to get you here and get to play properly for an audience but this third slash second non quarantine trip kicked off with a trip up to Millport, so how was it for you? “It was amazing. It was so beautiful, and I’ve been saying that it’s probably my favourite country music festival that I have ever done just because the location is so amazing, and it was so well put on. The size was perfect how it is large but not too big and the line-up was incredible. I had a great slot where I got to play just before Drake White, so I had such a good time.”
Is it a nice feeling and similar to here at Nashville Meets London today where as things a re a little bit smaller scale than they are back at home, you are not just stuck back stage and you can get around and see more of the festival? “Oh yeah! You could wander and see all of your friends play so it’s beautiful.”
We’ve spoken about this amongst ourselves and I think one of the cool things that we had talked about before but when you looked at things on socials from the festival and how there is this ideology of Nashville having this tight music community aspect, you would naturally think that Alyssa (Bonagura), Sarah (Darling) and Candi (Carpenter) were people that you had known for forever, but you all hadn’t really hung out. It kind of put into perspective for me the scale of the industry is and how big the city actually is. “It’s a big city, everyone has schedules that are crazy, and we are all on tour all the time. A lot of the time it’s common that you get to see your friends at festivals for the first time in ages and you actually get to hang out and catch up. That was actually really nice to get to spend some time with Sarah and Alyssa, then I actually hadn’t met Candi before so that was incredible.”
Anyway, we are back down in the promised land for Nashville Meets London and it’s always fun having gigs down in the capital plus we have got a gorgeous day for it. “I’m telling you, every time I’m in the UK the weather is pretty great.”
Well clearly you need to spend even more time here! “I’ll just have to move here so you can have the sunshine all the time.”
We’re going see you on stage with just you and your guitar once again for the third time but still the second time which you obviously want to keep building and coming back but what are your aspirations for growing your shows over here? “You know that the UK is very important to me, I feel so connected to the music, the culture and everything but I’ve always heard to come early and come often which is really what I’m trying to do. The audiences here have been so receptive to me and my music so I want to come back here as much as possible so I’m sure you will all see me again in the spring, if not multiple times and I just want to keep building it.” Have you found that what people had said about the audiences before you came over really live up to what you hear about these mythical beings in England that sit and listen? “It’s so true. My very first show here was at C2C, well if you don’t count the live stream that I did in 2020 and I think I opened with “Joshua Tree” which was a single off “Cold Comfort”, but we didn’t release it to radio and people were still singing along. Just that right there from the very first song that I played in the UK, I really felt that what I had been hearing for decades about audiences being so lovely, quiet and respectful but also really knowing the deep cuts, the lyrics and the whole body of work was one hundred percent true.”
Again, going back to what we had been chatting about the other day where you said about playing the nineties jam up at Millport where you were almost surprised by very different reactions to certain songs more than others. “One hundred percent. It does seem that even the covers that you guys relate to is different and we were talking as well about maybe why my music is doing so well over here as my music is a little more mellow, a little more reserved and that seems to be like the audiences over here. You guys are quiet, respectful, loyal and I like to think that I’m all of those things too!”
We mentioned “Cold Comfort” earlier which has been out for a little while now and I know that you have been very busy writing like everybody was for the last couple of years, then recently I saw that recently you’ve had a couple of little writing trips where one was with your good buddy Nikita Karmen. Fingers crossed then that there is plenty in the tank and it’s a case of working with those and it’s a case of deciding what to go with next? “Yep, we are sorting through all the songs right now and just going through a last push to try and beat everything that I’ve written, we’re writing for about another month before we start narrowing down for the next record and the next single.”
For anyone that is Stateside, have you got much planned in terms of shows and is mainly based around Nashville because I know that you had your big tour where you went all over at the start of summer? “Yes, that was May and June. I was all over the US where I played twenty shows, completely by myself and I was out for six weeks, just me and my dog and my guitar which was incredible. The hope is to do another tour like that next spring, but the focus right now is on recording and the next record.”
Do you feel bad leaving Hazel for so long when your over here? “I do! I miss her so much, she just celebrated her eleventh birthday two days ago and I feel bad not being there for that but she’s with my niece and in very good company. That is the worst thing about being here, everything else I am thrilled about but not having her with me is a little sad. I’ve got to bring her over here, she would love the weather here because she’s like a little polar bear and would be wearing her fur coat for the Queen.”
Rounding off and talking about tonight, we’ve got a thirty-minute set so, tell us what are we getting? “You’re going to get one brand new song, one song that YOU requested because I promised that I would not come back to the UK without playing, a nineties country medley that I am quite fond of and then “Joshua Tree” and “Hypocrite” so some fan favourites, something new and a cover too.” Does it surprise you? You’re growth over here started really with “Cold Comfort” where not just me, but your fans are saying we love “Trainwreckin’” or “Get Drunk and Cry” and these old songs.
“That was what I found on that six-week tour that I just did. People were like where’s “Dear Dolly” in your set, where’s “Get Drunk and Cry” or “Trainwreckin’” and it was really heart-warming because I think of myself as a new artist that is still trying to get out there and prove myself with new songs. It is so unbelievable when you run into these fans who say that they drove six hours to hear “Get Drunk and Cry” and I’m like oh my gosh! Thank you! You forget that I have been at this a little while and slowly building up a really beautiful fanbase through the years so living in Nashville where there are huge superstars you feel like you are behind, and you are so thankful for every single fan out there who is listening to us and giving our music a chance and it’s so fulfilling when someone comes up to you at a show like that.”