All recordings are on Riptone Records

Notch Road (2018)


The new record is now available on (click on links) CD BabyiTunesAmazon and most other platforms as well as the Ripton General Storethe Lincoln General StoreRecycled Reading of Vermont in Bristolthe Vermont Book Shop and directly from us through our Contact page.

Album reviews HERE

Click on this link to hear a medley of song clips from Notch Road.

Our latest recording was released in May, 2018. Our album release concert at the Ripton Community Coffee House was filmed and several songs from this album can be seen on our Videos page. This is our first recording since 2011 and our first as a duo. It consists of thirteen songs that we've been playing in these last several years. Most of them are original.

Richard Ruane – vocals, guitar, octave mandolin, ukulele, tenor guitar, and mandolin

Beth Duquette – vocals.

With help from:

Mitch Barron - acoustic and fretless bass on Ellie Brown, Come on Back Around, I Spy, Old Notch Road, Bus Stop, Last Time You Came Around, Living in a Dream, Two Crows, and Back with Rosemarie

Matt Flinner - mandolin on Ellie Brown and Call Home Waltz

Wendy Sassafras Ramsay - clarinet on Last Time You Came Around and accordion and vocals on I Spy

Stephen Rooney - trombone on Saint James Infirmary and Stuffing Clams in Exeter

Alice Weston - tuba on Saint James Infirmary and Stuffing Clams in Exeter

Patrick Fitzsimmons - percussion on Last Time You Came Around and vocals on I Spy

Michael Chorney - electric guitar on Old Notch Road

Phil Henry - banjo and vocals on I Spy

Allison Norton Henry - vocals on I Spy

Rick Wilson - electric bass on Call Home Waltz

 All songs written by Richard Ruane, except Stuffing Clams in Exeter written by Richard Ruane and Beth Duquette; Saint James Infirmary - traditional with new words and music by Richard Ruane; and Harbour of Typee attributed to Ewan MacColl.


Things That Strangers Say (2001)

In 2001 the album Things That Strangers Say was released as a solo album by Richard Ruane. Some excerpts from reviews include:

"The solo debut from Richard Ruane is a collection of songs that quickly become like good friends upon first meeting. Ruane is adept at the fine art of storytelling put to song, whether it’s about the down-and-out, leaving one’s homeland, or a dark encounter in a Dublin park. His originals speak to different shades of love, joy, mystery and real life. Ruane’s voice has a soothing quality — at times plaintive, at times mirthful, but always expressive. Ruane plugs into his soul’s emotions to bring forth well-crafted songs that speak a universal language, and linger for a long time." Terry Lickona - No Depression

"Richard Ruane’s album Things That Strangers Say is a very likable piece of acoustic music. His storytelling is honest and poignant, and he turns a good lyric. Ruane’s songs are his own and they will captivate acoustic songwriting fans. Things That Strangers Say is a solid group of well-crafted songs, lyrically clear and vocally strong. Steve Lemcke - The Burlington Free Press

“Things That Strangers Say is a stirring collection of tracks with pristine clarity and warmth. Ruane is a storyteller with a gift for place and character. Keenly observant, he builds a song from a town wino who’s “better known than our senators, congressman or mayor”; from the satisfaction of a good coffee shop; and from love, life, death, people and places on the road. Though many of the 15 songs here favor minor chords and slower tempos, Ruane picks it up occasionally, and is not without humor. You’ve got to love a folkie who can make fun of folkies.” Pamela Poulston – Seven Days

"Love the disc, very well done, some great backing talent, but what carries it for me is the writing, and your strong vocals! It will be getting some serious play. Thanks for sending your work, it's Great!" — Chris Darling, host of Us Folk on WMPG

“I think the thing that strikes me about your material is that it is not simply written, but crafted, using not only the richness of the lyrics but also the intricacies of the music to complement the songs.” — Wanda Fischer, host of The Hudson River Sampler on WAMC


About the CD:

All songs (except Crazy Man Michael) are written by Richard Ruane, copyright Okey Dokey Folkie Music (BMI), all rights reserved. Please do not reproduce these without express written permission.


Click on a song title to read the lyrics (you'll need Acrobat Reader)

1. Don’t You Trust Me
RR – vocals, guitar. Rachel Bissex – vocals. Mitch Barron – bass.
This song was written after a friend heard Old Lovers and said, “Didn’t you have any really bad relationships?” Only one I can think of, but at least I got a song out of it.

2. Old Lovers
RR – vocals, guitar. Louise Taylor – vocals. Mitch Barron – bass.

3. Milk, No Sugar
RR – vocals, mandolin. Moira Smiley – vocals. Michael Corn – guitar. Ron Rost – bass.
The refrain for this song was originally from a play I was writing about a bus trip from London to Athens (stopping at the highway cafés figured prominently). When I started frequenting the Middlebury Coffeehouse (alas, now defunct), the refrain came back to me and I wrote the rest of the song around it.

4. A Heart That’s Open Wide
RR – vocals, guitar. Pete Sutherland – fiddle. Mitch Barron – bass.

5. Light of the World
RR – vocals, guitar. Jennifer Kimball – vocals. Mitch Barron – bass.

6. Joy That Carries Me
RR – vocals, guitar. Moira Smiley – vocals. Su White – vocals. Beth Duquette – vocals. Pete Sutherland – fiddle. Peter Engisch – piano. Mitch Barron – bass.
My own “Ode to Joy.” A few people have asked me for the chords for this song; it’s one of my simplest. The verses start out with GDC CDG a couple times, then switch to GDC GDC GDC, then the refrain is CDG repeated four times.

7. Rapid City
RR – vocals, guitar.
This is my token DADGAD tuning song on the CD. Shortly after I wrote this, I sent a recording to my brother Tom. When I talked to him next, he told me he really liked the song, but had no idea what it was about. I offered to tell him, but he said, “Don’t do that!” So, more info on request.

8. Boston
RR – vocals, guitar. Patti Casey – vocals. Viveka Fox – fiddle. Mitch Barron – bass.
This song is about leaving the US once, with no clear concept about when or if I’d be coming back.

9. Bartender
RR – vocals, mandolin. Michael Chorney – vocals. Michael Corn – guitar. Peter Engisch – piano. Ron Rost – bass.

10. Behind the Houses
RR – vocals, mandolin. Olaf Fub – electric guitars. Mitch Barron – bass.

11. George
RR – vocals, guitar, mandolin. Michael Chorney – vocals. Pete Sutherland – fiddle. Mitch Barron – bass.

12. Not That Man
RR – vocals, guitar. Mitch Barron – bass.

13. Dublin
RR – vocals, mandolin, guitar, banjo. Susan Reit – recorder. Mitch Barron – bass.

14. Crazy Man Michael by Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick
RR – vocals, mandolin. Patti Casey – vocals. Viveka Fox – fiddle. Mitch Barron – bass.

15. Playing the Label in Waltz Time
RR – Thorens TD 280 turntable
Properly called a run-off track. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

16. Well-Meaning Folks With Guitars
RR – vocals, guitar.
This was going to be a hidden track. It probably should have been. It was written after hearing a chance comment at a national Folk Alliance conference.




Copyright © 2009-2018, Richard Ruane. All rights reserved.

I Know Stories (2008)

The first recording by Bread and Bones, I Know Stories, was released in the summer of 2008. It was named Vermont's Best Traditional Album of the Year by the Times Argus newspaper. Some excerpts from reviews include:


"Straight away, the album’s strengths are clear. Ruane’s superlative guitar work drives the song. Barron’s nuanced bass line adds depth. Duquette’s and Ruane’s voices weave delightfully through each other and the music. Their words are strong with a wealth of quotable lines. I Know Stories is a solid album made by musicians who know and love traditional American music. Check it out." Herb van der Poll – Seven Days

“The project’s clean, cohesive sound and the group’s sincere delivery of vocalist Richard Ruane’s songs mark them as “an act to watch” on the New England acoustic scene and beyond. Their playing and singing are crisp and confident: Ruane’s work on guitar is full of finesse and creativity. Ms. Duquette’s harmony and lead vocals are clear and to the point but not overly adorned. And – to my ear at least – Barron’s sparse, deep backing on both upright bass and fretless electric puts the real stamp on this music as original, from-the-shoulder, and very much alive. Ruane possesses the three critical tools necessary to any writer in any genre – narrative sensibility, a poet’s ear, and a sense of humor. There are substantial rewards here for the listener.” Jeff Trippe MaineFolkMusic.Com

“The music is delivered tastefully. Ruane's guitar work is crisp and emphatic. Barron is every Vermont folk group's bassist of choice. Duquette's singing is a fine clear alto in perfect step with Ruane. Together the two can sing with the best on record. Finely crafted songs. A sound that is very confident and mature. This trio is headed for the bright lights of folkdom. This CD is highly recommended.” Art Edelstein – Times Argus


About the CD:


Bread and Bones: Richard Ruane – vocals, guitar, mandolin and ukulele; Beth Duquette – vocals; Mitch Barron – fretless, fretted and upright basses and vocals.

We had additional help from Jeff Pratt – mandolin on Walking Cane, Matthew Witten – accordion on Fair and Tender Ladies, and Adam Frehm – Dobro on Bread and Bones.

All songs written by Richard Ruane, except You Call to Me written by Richard Ruane and Beth Duquette, Walking Cane, traditional with additional words and music by Richard Ruane and Fair and Tender Ladies, traditional. All original music published by Okey Dokey Folkie Music (BMI).

Recorded from April 2006 to April 2008 at Resting Lion Studio in Huntington, Vermont, and Toast Pirate Studios in Ripton, Vermont. We also recorded at a number of homes of friends who graciously allowed us to take advantage of their good acoustics and generous hearts. Our thanks to Cindy and Michael Seligmann (and Kathy Clarke), Jim Lienau and Brenda Myrick, Su White and Eric Warren, as well as to the Lincoln Community School and Centerpoint School. Thanks to Gertrude A. Ruane and Tom Ruane for generous encouragement and support and to Mark Mulqueen, Andrea Chesman, Susan Abell and Max. Mixed and mastered by Lane Gibson at Charles Eller Studios in Charlotte, Vermont.

Art design and band photo by Win Colwell (

About the Songs Click on a song title to read the lyrics (you'll need Acrobat Reader):

Song notes by Richard Ruane.

Bread and Bones 3:09

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass and vocals; Adam Frehm: Dobro

I did a solo song-writing retreat a few years ago at Ron Rost’s family cabin in the Berkshires (thanks Ron!) where I set out all my instruments and a tape recorder and I just spent a few days playing and writing. It was pure heaven. Three of the songs on this CD were started there. This song kind of veered off from its beginnings, however, and turned into a song about someone who kills a person in self defense, and runs when he shouldn’t.

My Father is Gone 3:36

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

This is another song I started at that same song-writing retreat. My great-grandfather and grandfather emigrated from Ireland to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. My grandfather spent the last half of his short life working as a breaker at the Number Nine pit in Pittston. This song takes place at my great-grandmother’s Lambert Street house there.

Time Is Passing 3:06

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass and vocals

A composite of several dear people I’ve known who have dealt with serious illness.

You Call to Me 4:27

Beth: vocals; Richard: guitar; Mitch: bass

This is a co-written song sung by Beth that’s best left to people’s own interpretation.

I Was Not Born Here 2:42

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass and vocals

Which defines you more — where you were born or where you choose to live? People take pride in how many generations of their family lived where they live, and that can be a fine thing. However, this song speaks to a different situation, an immigrant’s.

Let Me Know 4:10

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

This is a love song of sorts, finger-picked on guitar.

Fair and Tender Ladies 4:08

Beth: vocals; Richard: guitar, mandolin and vocals; Mitch: bass; Matthew Witten: accordion

This traditional ballad from the British Isles by way of Appalachia features Beth on lead vocals.

Blue Coyote 3:22

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

When I lived in New Haven, Vermont, there was a long field that sloped down to a boggy stream about a quarter-mile below my house. Coyotes would come through there at night, calling out to each other with their howls. One February night I had to go out to get more wood from our woodpile at about four-thirty in the morning. It was one of those beautifully clear and cold winter nights we get in Vermont, when each star sparkles brilliantly and the snow has a special crunch you only hear when it’s dropped below zero. I filled my arms with wood and heard the coyotes starting up down the hill. I stopped and looked up at all those stars with the wonderful melancholy musical sounds from the coyotes in my ears. I was reflecting on what a wonderful world it really is when I heard a coyote answer the pack from about fifteen yards behind me. I decided to head back in, but I do love that sound.

The Wolf Is at the Door 2:41

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

From coyotes to wolves — this dreamlike song takes place at my house which is complete with pictures on the walls of ancestors and ghosts.

Slipping on Your Way 1:53

Richard: ukulele and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

Everybody loves the ukulele, don’t they? It is an instrument largely lacking in pretensions, as is this song.

I Know Stories 5:32

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

Sometimes this song seems to be an allegory and sometimes it doesn’t. The story line comes from the “Jack” tales, but told from the giant’s fatalistic perspective. It’s one of those songs that leapt straight from my subconscious without much intervention by me.

Walking Cane 2:15

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass and vocals; Jeff Pratt: mandolin

I’ve always loved this song and have sung it in a few different bands over the years, but one day I started tweaking the lyrics to lose the repeated lines. Then I ended up adding a bridge. It’s all part of the “folk process.”

I Dreamed I Rose 2:32

Richard: guitar and vocals; Mitch: bass

Many of the songs I write are based on something that really happened, either to me or someone I’ve met. This is a song literally based on a dream. It is about fundamental understandings, faith and flying (as I said, a dream).


Copyright © 2009-2018, Richard Ruane. All rights reserved.

Could Have Been a Dream (2011)

"What you hear on this album is the pure sound of new American folk music"- Rutland Herald Newspaper

“A collection of finely written songs, with wonderful vocal performances, and solid instrumental backing to put the whole over with eloquence and grace.” - Oliver di Place, Musings on Music

"The recording is loaded with quality. Ruane is a talented storyteller, painting whole scenes with his lyrics. Duquette has a lovely voice, and her soulfulness shines through. Barron is, for my money, the top acoustic bass player in Vermont. That variety and a solid sound are two of the reasons that Bread and Bones are attracting a growing fan base from the Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. to coffeehouses in Maine and throughout Vermont." Robert Resnick - Seven Days, Vermont's Alternative Weekly Newspaper

Could Have Been a Dream, the second recording by Bread and Bones, was released on October 25, 2011. Its fourteen songs include eleven originals, a traditional Irish ballad, a song by the Canadian songwriter Charlie Sohmer, and a cover of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” with a finger-picked ukulele accompaniment.  Renowned Vermont fiddler Pete Sutherland is featured on “Play a Waltz and Go Home.” 

1 This Is the Day 3:19

2 Will I Be Welcome 3:30

3 Could Have Been a Dream 4:26

4 North Along the River 3:29

5 Play a Waltz and Go Home/Spokane Waltz 5:24

6 Love Is a Reason 3:11

7 Emily Sits by the Window 3:18

8 Winter’s Come Again 2:51

9 Who Do You Think It Was 3:37  by Charlie Sohmer

10 Breakwater 3:17

11 In the Air 3:49

12 Rocking the Cradle 4:35  Traditional

13 Three Little Birds 2:50  by Bob Marley

14 No Angels 3:38

All songs written by Richard Ruane, except Who Do You Think It Was, written by Charlie Sohmer; Spokane Waltz, attributed to Ozark Mountain fiddler Jess Essary with chord arrangement by Pete Sutherland; Rocking the Cradle, traditional with additional words and music by Richard Ruane and Three Little Birds, written by Bob Marley. All of Richard’s original music is published by Okey Dokey Folkie Music (BMI).

This was recorded from October 2010 to September 2011 at Toast Pirate Studios, Michael and Cindy Seligmann’s barn, the Rost Family cabin, Pete Sutherland’s living room and the Centerpoint School.  

The musicians of Bread and Bones are Richard Ruane – vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo and ukulele; Beth Duquette – vocals; Mitch Barron – fretless, fretted and upright basses and vocals.

Pete Sutherland joins us on fiddle on Play a Waltz and Go Home. Find him at

Our thanks to Cindy and Michael Seligmann (and Kathy Clarke and Clover Blossom), the entire extended Rost family (and especially Ron), Pete Sutherland, Lane Gibson and Centerpoint School. Thanks also to Mark Mulqueen (and Ike and Liam), Andrea Chesman (and Rory and Sam), Susan Abell (and Max).

In addition, a special thanks to Mar Harrison, Diane Stolar, Rick Shappy and Tonya Engst (and Adam and Tristan) and a very special thanks to Tom Ruane (and Eileen, Joseph and Patrick), everyone at The Top Floor, Cindy and Michael Seligmann (we just can't thank them enough) and Fran McKay (thanks Fran).

And an extra special thanks to all the folk DJs who have been so supportive. To mention just a few:

Robert Resnik (WVPR), Wanda Fischer (WAMC), Chip Morgan (Farm Fresh Radio), Ray Baumler (WRUR), Rich Warren (WFMT), Jeff Boudreau (WCUW), Mary Cliff (WAMU), Chris Darling (WMPG), Dennis Brunnenmeyer (KVMR), Sue DuMond (KLOI), Larry Hillberg (KVMR), Susan Forbes Hansen (KHUS), Michael Alzo (WSLU),  Angela Page (WJFF), Mark Michaelis (WGDR), Craig Huegel (WSLR), Bob Weiser (WOMR), Kenneth Batista (WYEP), Harlon Joye (WRFG), Diane Crowe (WMCB) and Chris McGill (WSPN), Ron Olesko & Bill Hahn (WFDU), Matt Baya (WERU), Todd Tyson (WNCS).

The CD was produced by Richard Ruane.

Mixed and Mastered by Lane Gibson at Lane Gibson Recording and Mastering, Charlotte, Vermont (

Cover photos by Beth Duquette. Art design by Win Colwell (  Band photo by Jeff Clarke (

Beth took the cover photo in her yard in Lincoln, Vermont, looking towards Mount Grant and Mount Cleveland in the Green Mountains. She took the interior photo of the instruments at the wonderful Dream Away Lodge ( in Beckett, Massachusetts in the Berkshires. The photo of Beth as a child in the interior was taken by one of her older sisters (Beth wasn't sure which one).

Here’s the complete list of the songs. Click on a song title to read the lyrics (you'll need Acrobat Reader installed). The song notes are by Richard Ruane.

1 This Is the Day   3:19

2 Will I Be Welcome   3:30

This song was written about my father’s brother, my long-lost uncle Jim. Just after I was born Jim borrowed all the savings my parents had (a meager amount) and moved to New York City to start a new life. He wasn’t heard from again for twenty-seven years. He was always just a story in my house. My father believed he had died. Then one day he called my father. He’d had a hard go of it for most of the intervening years but was back on his feet. Years later I got thinking about what it must have been like to make that call and I wrote this song. And he was very welcome.

3 Could Have Been a Dream   4:26

This is the story of a woman’s reminiscence of the last year she was with her birth mother, when she was only two or three. She was unsure about the details because of how young she had been, but she clearly remembered what her mother said when she kissed her good night.

4 North Along the River   3:29

Also known as “The Train Song”, this is about traveling at night to avoid being seen. The song doesn’t say specifically why, but I had been doing some work concerning undocumented immigrants at the time.

5 Play a Waltz and Go Home/Spokane Waltz   5:24

Contra dances traditionally end with a waltz. My friend Mark Mulqueen and I ran sound for the dance stage at the Champlain Valley Folk Festival for many years as well as for many other contra dances. We noticed sometimes, after a dance had been going for many hours, the dancers might be passed out on their feet while the musicians were happily and obliviously playing with no end in sight. We came up with the (never realized) concept of making hats that said “Play a Waltz and Go Home” to put on as a hint to the musicians. After awhile the phrase got used anytime it was time to go. Pete Sutherland, a great songwriter, wonderful fiddler, contra dance king and member of the renowned Clayfoot Strutters, graciously agreed to help us out with a waltz. It was his suggestion that we use Spokane Waltz and I used his chord arrangement for the fiddle tune accompaniment (another one of his many talents).

6 Love Is a Reason   3:11

7 Emily Sits by the Window   3:18

This was inspired by an elderly woman I met at a nursing home. She had been a dancer when much younger and it was obvious by the way she carried herself, even though she had been in a wheelchair for a number of years.

8 Winter’s Come Again   2:51

This song views winter as a returning friend. If you live in Vermont or in any of the colder northern places, it sure helps to be able to get along with winter

9 Who Do You Think It Was   3:37

I met Charlie Sohmer several years back at Solarfest’s Singer/Songwriter Showcaseher in Vermont. I was really impressed with his songwriting. We got together the following November at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference where the whole band got a chance to hang out with him, playing music and telling long stories from about 2:00 AM until dawn. A really sweet guy too.

10 Breakwater   3:17

I spent a summer living on an island off the coast of New England. During that time I got to know some commercial fishermen who fished out of sight of land during the day. When they came back at night, even if their navigation equipment was out, they would know where they were along the coast line by sight. The different lights from the shore, the radio towers, the buoys, the harbor lights, the bridges and roads lit by car lights would tell them where they were. This song takes its imagery from that. It’s about leaving home but knowing where it is if you need to find it again.

11 In the Air   3:49

12 Rocking the Cradle   4:35

This is a traditional song from Ireland. I first learned it from an LP recorded back in the 1950s by song collector Robin Roberts. I once had all my records stored the attic of an apartment house and when I came back for them, someone had taken many of the LPs, including this obscure one. I only partially remembered this song and had to fill in some of the gaps. It is a ballad of love gone awry and being left with a baby, but it is told from the male’s perspective. It’s almost an “answer song” to Fair and Tender Ladies from our last CD.

13 Three Little Birds   2:50

I first heard Bob Marley and the Wailers shortly after the Catch a Fire album came out. I saw them a few years later at an amazing concert in New York’s Central Park. I was playing the ukulele not long ago and started riffing on this familiar song. It took.

14 No Angels   3:38