Contributing Writer : Garret K. Woodward

What does chicken soup and RUHA have in common?

Soothing wintry souls one offering at a time.

“We have some flavors of old school rock’n’roll, funky grooves, and an earthy singer-songwriter vein,” bassist Max McKee said of the Syracuse, N.Y. quartet. “Tossed into a pot, [you] make RUHA soup.”

Combining over 20 years of touring experience, the jam-rock troubadours are currently embarking on cross-country tour, wandering through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Maine, and New York.

“The music maintains the elements,” McKee said. “With the solid foundation and support of the earth, the flow and wandering of the waters, the intensity and heat of the fires, and the floating and flying of the wind.”

Influenced by the Grateful Dead, Parliament Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, “the drive to the gig, our momma’s home cookin’, and the energy of the crowd”, a vital aptitude for improvisation remains at the heart of the band.

“It’s raw creation on the spot,” said McKee. “[We enjoy] venturing into new territories or expanding the world that you’re in at the time. We seek a balance of form and formlessness. The basic approach is to have no approach. That sometimes creates a new direction each night for the same song. [It’s] pretty much different each time we step onstage.”

Formed in 2005, as a side project by the lively Charley Orlando (lead vocals/guitar), RUHA (an Aramaic word meaning “air, breath and atmosphere”) released their first album, “The Dust That Lands”, in 2007.

But, the initial lineup seemed to go nowhere according to McKee.

“Members of the band at the time didn’t have the vibe,” he said. “The vibe of RUHA is that of one sound, one being, one heart. In a meditation it came to Charley that this [current] lineup of musicians was indeed “ruha”. So, six months ago, Greg [LaPoint drums)], Brian [Lauri (keyboards)], Charley, and myself emerged as RUHA. [We want] to spread the sound like peanut butter across the world, promoting unity and love.”

And with an industry quickly losing steam in the mainstream, the group embraces the personal challenge at hand, which is one of relentless self-promotion amid a sometimes-unforgiving musical landscape.

“It seems like it’s becoming more of a grass roots operation,” said McKee. “Of course a record label can help, but they wont step in until they see success. [We are] a grassroots band, that when signed to a major label, will remain connected to its roots. The need to connect with your audience is the most important aspect of any band. Continued success on all levels is the ability to never lose contact with your crowd.”

Looking towards the future one show at a time, McKee is eager to reach new audiences and cross paths with those unknown yesterday, yet friends today.

“The road is a blast for the most part,” he said. “To hang with everybody, making new friends, crashing on couches, and the everyday insanity is our favorite part, besides the music obviously.

“[We want people] to feel a sense of aliveness and inspiration, to share what we’re all feeling together, and to realize there is so much more to life than what streams through your head on any given day.”

Mar 10 2010 9:00P
TopHat Missoula, Montana
Mar 11 2010 9:00P
Moon Time Coeur ’d Alene, Idaho
Mar 12 2010 9:00P
John’s Alley Moscow, Idaho
Mar 13 2010 9:00P
John’s Alley Moscow, Idaho
Mar 14 2010 7:00P
Crusty’s McCall, Idaho
Mar 15 2010 9:00P
The Bouquet Boise, Idaho
Mar 17 2010 8:30P
Trails End New Castle, Colorado
Mar 18 2010 9:00P
Sandbar Vail, Colorado
Mar 19 2010 9:00P
Three20South w/ Turbine Breckenridge, Colorado
Mar 20 2010 10:00P
Quixote’s True Blue Cafe Denver, Colorado
Mar 24 2010 9:00P
Goat Keystone, Colorado
Mar 25 2010 9:30P
Cunningham’s Journal Kearney, Nebraska
Mar 26 2010 9:00P
Pop’s Blue Moon St. Louis, Missouri
Apr 24 2010 9:00P
Port City Music Hall w/ U-Melt Portland, Maine
May 30 2010 4:00P
Sterling Stage Folk Festival Sterling, New York

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