Bits ‘n’ Pieces: Trail Band concert to help feed hungry

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Ruth -- from left, Nick Wiinikka, Jesse Counts, Dustin Ruth, Ryan Peterson -- has released its latest album, "Payola."

Bruce Davis, president of the Salmon Creek Kiwanis Club, is more than a little nervous about the benefit concert his organization is hosting on the afternoon of Feb. 11, featuring The Trail Band of Portland, and benefiting the Clark County Food Bank and other local charities.

“We’re basically scared out of our minds,” Davis said.

That’s because his usual talent, bluegrass band Misty River, is on hiatus after many years of headlining the annual show. Misty River connected the Kiwanis with The Trail Band — but Davis is hoping the name is a sufficient draw.

“They promised us that these guys are so good, you won’t miss a step,” he said. “I just hope people in the community already know how good they are.”

The eight-piece Trail Band offers a lively blend of traditional and original sounds — everything from country blues and Celtic ballads to old-timey oompah toots — played on strings and brass including tuba, dulcimer, penny whistle, fiddle, guitar, banjo, flageolet and flugelhorn.

Thanks to chief sponsor Columbia Credit Union, Davis said, 100 percent of the ticket revenues and raffle sales will benefit local charities — the Clark County Food Bank and other organizations that serve needy children and families.

“When people buy a ticket, not only are they getting a great evening of entertainment but they know that every dollar is staying local and helping people,” Davis said.

The show is set for 3 p.m. Feb. 11 at Skyview High School, 1300 N.W. 139th St. Advance tickets are $18 each or two for $35. They are available at all Columbia Credit Union branches, Music World in Hazel Dell and Battle Ground, River City Music, Beacock Music and at http://ticketsoregon.com with an additional service charge. Price at the door is $20.

–Scott Hewitt

Bartering for studio time pays off for Ruth

Dustin Ruth took an unconventional path to get studio time for his band’s newest album, “Payola.”

The group, which is named after Ruth, had finished its deal with Tooth and Nail Records, and with no new contract and the bad economy, money was tight.

So Ruth, 29, of Battle Ground asked Vancouver’s Ripcord Studios if he could barter for some recording time.

“We did some creative things. I fixed cars, painted the studio and painted a secondhand store for (the owner) as part of the deal,” Ruth said. “Through that, we were able to earn the studio time.”

After that, Ruth, who works at a local auto shop, bought an old van, fixed it up and sold it to get money to mix the album at Voodoo Studios in New York.

The hard work has paid off for Ruth, which has played more than 500 shows all over the world.

The album, set for release later this month, was just picked up by MTV’s new record label, which markets music for the television and movie industries.

“It’s sort of a new model,” Ruth said. “It’s a big deal and we’re really excited about it.”

“Payola” will be available through Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody and other online music services, Ruth said. For information, check out the band’s website at http://ruththeband.com.–Sue Vorenberg

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you’d like to share, email us at bits@columbian.com.