Raise The Ruf for 20 Years of Music:
From the juke joints to world stages
This label offers only the best for fans
A Special double CD out on November 11th
Atlanta, GA – Ruf Records celebrates its 20th Anniversary on November 11th with a double CD release of tunes from the first line up in 1994 to the current roster in 2014. This German label started as a dream for Thomas Ruf, after he got completely smitten with the Blues. Artists have come and gone from this small but all label, but with Thomas’ vision, the drive is still there to present the best. Ruf Records is distributed by Allegro worldwide through all various digital downloads and retail stores. After 120 releases or more, Grammy nominations, a lot of Blues Music Awards winners and at least a thousand miles traveled; Thomas Ruf has arrived at a milestone.
A Guy Name Ruf – “Roof” like the roof over your head:
As anything in life, you get the idea when you are not thinking, it comes out of the blue and it hits you in the face. It happened late one night; Thomas Ruf was at a show at the Black Forrest, a local club, where the great Luther Allison was playing. Mr. Allison was playing with the local folk musicians and he saw something special unfold. Something overcame him; watching and hearing this now iconic eclectic group of players, Thomas began to think, “This is something I would love to be a part of!”
Ruf started out working on the road with Luther, when the blues musician would tour Europe assisting him with his needs. They became friends and soon Ruf found his mentor in Luther Allison. Thomas still gets in the trenches with his artists 20 years later with The Spin Doctors, Samantha Fish and Royal Southern Brotherhood. His award winning live DVD/CD concerts, Songs From The Road, are gifts to the fans that can buy and experience what that night had to offer.
Thomas Ruf is a firm believer in all aspects of the artist’s career is important and should be addressed. This sometimes means talking at all hours of the night and day to be the guiding light throughout. He points out the obvious, tells the truth while dreaming the biggest dream of all, everyone is to be happy and successful with their artistic journey.
“The test of time will show which of them is going to remain significant” – Thomas Ruf (Classic Rock Magazine 2014)
Ruf comes from a small town in Germany called, Lindewerra (2.5 hours north of Frankfort), with a population of 250, where everyone is sure to know him. From his tall height to his collection of colorful shirts to the pile of vinyl records underneath his arm; he eats, drinks and breathes music. He has been known to bring an extra suitcase just to fill it up with vinyl records when he traveling. He’s always hunting for more and asks, “Where is a good record store that sells vinyl?”
Where the Blues Crosses Over:
“Where the blues crosses over” has been Thomas’ slogan for a long time. “The blues has influenced rock and pop music, but the influence goes both ways. It was never a way one-way street,” Ruf told Classic Rock Magazine in 2014.
In 1997, Ruf was putting together a Rolling Stones tribute album with his roster at the time, and he brought in Luther Allison one more time. Mr. Allison was sick with lung cancer but as you hear him sing the track, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, you’d never know it. He was full of gusto, guts a bustin’ and heart achin’ by leaving it all out there for others to feel what he was feeling. Four weeks later after that session, Luther passed away at the age of 58. So Thomas placed the gospel-tinged anthem at the end of this double CD in honor of his mentor, his friend and his muse.
Luther holds a huge place in Thomas’ heart and soul, for the Chicago blues maestro, gave him the light and fire to start and now carry on. Perhaps in some way he is always around giving Ruf by surrounding him of the very best.
As Thomas writes in the liner notes, “Luther’s name will always be connected to the label’s history.”
Music to fans’ ears:
The double disc release is carefully laid out in sequence with songs starting by the young blood; girls and guys with guitars, vocally gifted singers to the respected veterans. Ruf carefully wrote about each artist talking about how much he was a fan of theirs before he even met them. He’s keen on talent that’s for sure.
Several successful musical careers are made and some are made legendary, starting with Luther Allison, of course, Ana Popovic, Candye Kane, Sue Foley, Savoy Brown, Louisiana Red, Walter Trout and even The Spin Doctors.
He has developed many young careers, with Joanne Shaw Taylor, Samantha Fish, Thorbjorn Risager and Laurence Jones as they learn their craft by putting together group tours and projects. Blues Caravan, Girls and Guys with Guitars and his award winning, live CD/DVD series “Songs From The Road” introduce fans to his label roster in a unique manner.
Enter Royal Southern Brotherhood:
RSB as we – fans, friends and their musical family call them – was a brain child of industry vet, manager Rueben Williams, for he brought this groovy, funky and blues group to Thomas to see what would happen.
The sound was big; the grooves were funky – why? One, you had Cyril Neville, from New Orleans’ royal family of the same name, two, you had Devon Allman, from another legendary family of rock, The Allman Brothers Band, Gregg’s son. Then, you had a bright and shining star in blues guitarist Mike Zito, all backed up by the most eclectic rhythm section put together, drummer Yonrico Scott and bassist Charlie Wooton. Their 2012 release flew off their merchandise table, store’s shelves and the media ATE them up. Fans from all five members came together as one to become “Loyal Royals” as guitarist Devon pegged them. In 2014, their second release, heartsoulblood was again a success as the band grows in their musical shoes.
Again, records were broken, miles were traveled and we all fell in love with the music again.
What the future holds:
With offices in the U.S. and Germany, Ruf Records operates 24/7 with radio, public relations, retail and distribution. It’s not an easy task but it’s done effectively. Ira Leslie heads up the U.S. operations and Michael De Urso is chief radio promoter; they are both based in the New York area. Amy Brat, of Bratgirl Media is out of Chicago can be found posting away on all the social media platforms, while Jill Kettles, of Miss Jill PR is the labels’ publicity contact who resides in Atlanta.
On the creative side; Ruf surrounds himself with the best to achieve his goal, to make the artist happy, let them breathe and be who they are. He has a list of go to people like Jim Gaines, a producer based out of Memphis who has a way of calming the nerves of musicians who might be entering the studio for the first time. Jim’s no-nonsense approach is something that attracted Ruf back in the 1990s and beyond.
“He (Ruf) thinks outside the box in a business that sometimes seems content being in it.” - Guitarist Albert Castiglia (taken from
Classic Rock Magazine 2014)
So a lot of times that Rolling Stones’ song comes up in life, sometimes as a sign, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”
And all Ruf needed, was the blues.
For more information on Ruf Records please visit their website: www.rufrecords.de