It used to be that a typical day for Faith Evans Ruch was full of heart beats, medical charts and newborn babies. In the summer of 2011, the registered nurse decided to give in to her muse, pick up a guitar and pour out her heart. Two years later, she released 1835 Madison – dubbed “too good to be a debut” by internationally published music critic Silver Michaels, the record announced Faith Evans Ruch’s arrival on the musical map.

From an early age Faith was charmed by the evocative nature of even the smallest lyrical line or chord. Though she dreamed of playing guitar, she only briefly took piano lessons and mostly confined her artistic expression to private poetry. But just one year into her nursing career, a growing fire inside of her led Faith to revisit that dream. Determined to finally learn to create music to accompany her private lyrical vignettes, the burgeoning songstress played day and night until her fingers bled – “so I’d know I was working hard enough,” she says with a smile.

Soon thereafter, inspiration arrived in spades. Through relationships with friends in the local music scene, Faith took the opportunity to perform her newly penned break up farewell, “Your Soul.” The blue-eyed swing ballad lays Ruch bare in the aftermath of a relationship fading before her eyes. The autobiographical song neatly summarizes her tale: I learned guitar so I could play/the words my lips would never say.

Ruch learned to play plenty more over the next few months – she’d found her voice, emboldened by catharsis.

The rootsy, classic country sound of 1835 Madison was captured by producer Kevin Houston (North MS Allstars, Lucero, Patty Griffin)  at Music+Arts Studio, with an impressive cast of session players on hand to assist – Luther Dickinson (North MS Allstars, Black Crowes) and Rick Steff (John Prine, Cat Power, Lucero) among them.

In the months that followed the release of 1835 Madison, Faith got on the road, sharing her songs in dive bars from Nashville to New Orleans. It was during that time, alone with her guitar as she had been in the beginning,that Faith began writing the songs and discovering the vision for her sophomore release, a 10” vinyl EP called After It’s Said & Done. Recorded over just two days, again with producer Kevin Houston, After It’s Said & Done is raw, intimate and sparse. For her third release (Lessons in Falling, due out October 13), Faith returns to the full sound that kicked off her music career.

The act of finishing this record was a defiant one. After a devastating break up and a life-threatening illness, Faith fought to finish an album that started as a love letter to the man and the life she thought was the one. Its sound is her most lush and eclectic yet, introducing myriad new influences from soul and R&B to polished contemporary pop to the folk-Americana bones of her songwriting style. For Lessons in Falling Faith again worked with Houston, her trusted producer, bringing in drummer/songwriter Ryan Peel as co-producer to inject a pop, R&B and hip-hop influence. Faith says their complementary styles made them a dream team for bringing her concept to life. The album was recorded at Royal Studio, Jim Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch and Music+Arts Studio between December of 2015 and April of 2017.

“I used to be afraid of vulnerability,” Faith says. “I thought it was terrifying. But vulnerability is beautiful. It allows us to make meaningful human connection, and that’s always been one of my goals as an artist. So here’s the piece of art I’m more proud of than anything else I’ve ever made. It made me a stronger person.”

Lessons in Falling is out October 13.