Ruth Cameron first turned to acting, which she pursued in theaters in North America and Europe. She changed her focus after marrying jazz bassist Charlie Haden, becoming his manager and helping him to put together his band, Quartet West. She also co-produced many of her husband's recordings. Haden encouraged her to pursue a singing career, as did friend Jeri Southern, and she began to study with vocal coach Sue Raney. In July 1999, she released First Songs, a seven-track EP, followed in October 2000 by her first full-length album, Roadhouse.