Gary Ruley and Mule Train

Gary Ruley was born into a musical family in Lexington, Virginia. He gave his first public performance at the age of 10. Since then he has captured the hearts of music lovers virtually everywhere, performing at various venues and festivals throughout Virginia with his brother, Rooster Ruley, and his dad, Pat Ruley. There, music had a strong tradition rooted in bluegrass and mountain music. He grew up in Lexington performing with other musicians for functions at Washington and Lee University, Virginia Military Institute, The University of Virginia, and various weddings and socials.

The foundation of Gary’s musical journey was molded with many performances at a young age singing and flatpicking in and around Lexington, Virginia. Lexington was a hotbed of nightly entertainment of live acoustic music. Many nights would feature four or five different bands performing at various venues. Gary got a big earful of traveling musicians who would often stop in to perform at one of the local colleges or pubs. From bluegrass, rock, old time, blues, Lexington was truly ALIVE.

Over the years he has honed his skills while performing with various masters of bluegrass such as Larry Keel, who has brought forth astounding and powerful new acoustic music. Gary loves performing with the Keels, and playing traditional bluegrass, the music he loves. Gary stretches to new boundaries with jazz and new grass, creating a dynamic hard-driving show that has earned him many fans. He is highly regarded by his musical peers as an all-encompassing powerhouse of entertainment.

In his performances Gary plays mostly vintage Martin guitars. His flat picking has earned him many honors and awards at various festivals, making Gary one of the most sought-after musicians for many events in and around Lexington, Virginia. “Our band has performed for countless wedding parties in Rockbridge County and surrounding areas over the years,” says Ruley.

Gary has opened for Ricky Scraggs and Kentucky Thunder. Gary has performed on stage with the late great Vassar Clements, the late Bobby Lester (Bill Monroe’s fiddler), Darol Anger, Two-time Grammy Winner Curtis Burch (New Grass Revival), Larry and Jenny Keel, Wyatt Rice, Ann Marie Simpson-Calhoun (Jethro Tull and Dave Matthew’s Band), Ricky Lee (Ralph Stanley), Will Lee, Danny Knicely, Mike Seeger, Tony Rice, Jack Lawrence (Doc Watson’s partner), Mac Wiseman (Bill Monroe & Flatts & Scruggs), Buddy Pendleton (Bill Monroe) and John Starling (Seldom Scene). Gary has performed with The Worx Band at Cattle Annie's in Lynchburg, VA. Heralded as one of the finest acoustic flat pickers, Gary has performed at The Homestead in Bath County, The Greenbriar in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Garth Newell in Warm Springs, Lime Kiln Theater, Lexington, Union Grove, Floydfest, Blackmountain, and toured out west with the Keel’s in California and Utah. He has also performed in Amsterdam and on PBS radio.

Being born in Lexington, Ruley was raised on Bluegrass and Old Time Mountain music. The influences of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Don Reno, Clarence White, J.D. Crow, Slim Richey, Bill Keith and Red Smiley as well as the Beatles are also embedded in his style.

Ruley’s shows now boast the support of Will Lee on banjo and vocals, and David Knicely on bass as the core group, importing many great pickers depending on the venue. Danny Knicely plays mandolin on occasion as well as Mark Shimick of LKE. Alternate bass players include Zack Blatter, Jenny Keel, and Dan Newhall. Gary’s son, Jeremiah Ruley, a well developed banjo picker, joins Gary whenever possible.

Larry and Jenny Keel are among the favorite side musicians as well as Ann Marie Simpson-Calhoun, who has performed live on the Grammys Award show, and her sister, Mary, whose twin fiddling dazzles audiences.

Gary truly feels fortunate to have Larry and Jenny Keel, Rooster Ruley, Will Lee and all the many other talented musicians to perform with – a true blessing.

Gary Ruley has recorded five CDs available on his website and at live shows. Gary resides in Rockbridge County with his wife, Kathleen Haugen, and sons, who have whole-heartedly supported his musical endeavors.

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