This up-and-coming country music writer and performer from Bloomington remembers his favorite college class, and it had little to do with music. It was American political controversies taught by Professor Jacek Dalecki at Indiana University. So he took another of Dalecki’s classes.
Hank Ruff23, a recent graduate of IU, it seems, is well-rounded, educated, and ready to share more of his music.
Her recent single “On a Good Night” hit No. 5 on iTunes. Named, in part, after Hank Williams Sr. (and also after a family member), Ruff has been playing country music since he was 11 years old. Mixing modern and traditional country, he accumulates views on social networks.
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You can see his energetic and driving style on August 26 on the main stage of Switch Park in Bloomington as part of the city’s performing arts series.
Many of Ruff’s songs depict lost love and regret, as seen in his lyrics “I knew I was playing with fire, I loved you” from his song “Long May the Fire Burn”. In another love song, “Hellbender”, he sings “Pour me another and let me tell you how she hurt me.”
“Hellbender” is Ruff’s latest single and reached No. 1 on iTunes’ All Genre Chart.
So it’s no surprise that Ruff will soon be joining big-name artists in the all-new music festival. All INSeptember 3 and 4 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
“One of the lovely ladies in charge of booking the numbers (All IN) told me I was one of the more local groups they would like to be a part of,” he said in a text message. . Initially flattered, he then saw the program, including Hall & Oats, John Fogerty and elephant cage. Not bad for a “kid from southern Indiana who loves country music with a passion.”
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Ruff thinks people who have known him from his school days are probably baffled by his deep-voiced performances today.
“Especially anyone who knew me in middle school and all the way through high school, where my voice was about as high as the girls in my Sounds of South choir class (at Bloomington High School South).”
At Switchyard on August 26, he’ll sing all of his original songs released so far, plus 1990s country covers and a few more recent covers. “Maybe even add a little John Mellencamp to show some Indiana pride.”
Social media keeps Ruff motivated, as fans rave about his songs on Facebook and Instagram.
“As long as there are a few people who really enjoy it, that helps me keep going,” he said.
But Ruff’s parents knew from the start that their son had talent — and that indefinitely crucial asset: motivation.
“Andy (Ruff, Hank’s dad) and I just stood back and looked at Hank. That’s all Hank does,” Hank’s mom, Kim Gray, said.
The couple realized that Hank was capable, and that, coupled with Andy’s country music at home, indoctrinated Hank.
Coincidentally, one of Hank’s favorite country artists, superstar Ricky Skaggs, will be performing on August 26 in nearby Brown County. Skaggs and Ruff, for one thing, both love the mandolin.
“We went to a Ricky Skaggs concert,” Gray said, “and Hank got us seats right in front of the stage.”
If you are going to
WHAT: Performing Arts Series presents Hank Ruff
WHEN: 6-8:30 p.m. August 26 with Anneliese and Ali opening
WHERE: Switchyard Park Main Stage, 1601 S. Rogers St.
AFTER: Find more information about Hank Ruff at https://hankruff.com/.