Ruth Moody.

Ruth Moody.

Ruth Moody concert to be first CrabFest-Field Hall collaboration

Singer inspired by Northwest, loves ‘moodiness’ of ocean

PORT ANGELES — The Ruth Moody Band performance Friday at Field Arts & Events Center will be something of a family reunion.

Moody — an Australian-born, two-time Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Canada — will play with her partner, Sam Howard, and longtime friend Anthony da Costa.

“There will be a lot of three-part harmony,” she said in a phone interview on Monday.

The Ruth Moody Band will perform folk, bluegrass and gospel originals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the center at 201 W. Front St.

Moody, 47, and Howard have been taking turns performing while they care for their son, who is now 6 and will accompany them on the road this trip.

She and Howard “are very excited to play music together,” Moody said.

She will play guitar and banjo and Howard will be on bass.

Da Costa, “an amazing singer songwriter as well” with whom Moody has often toured, will be on electric guitar, acoustic guitar and background vocals.

The Ruth Moody Band concert will be the first hosted by Field Hall in collaboration with the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday in the Red Lion Hotel parking lot, City Pier and The Gateway.

On Saturday, Field Hall will offer two opportunities — at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. — to see Sammy Miller & The Congregation, which will provide different shows.

These performances also are in collaboration with the CrabFest.

Tickets for Ruth Moody Band and Sammy Miller & The Congregation are offered at $25-$50 at www.fieldhall events.org/tickets.

CrabFest dinner ticket holders will receive a $5 discount code for each Field Hall ticket with their CrabFest dinner confirmation. This offer also can be redeemed by calling the Field Hall Box Office at 360-477-4679, ext. 1.

Original music

Moody, who splits her time between Vancouver Island and Nashville, sings folk and traditional songs, but mostly her own compositions.

Her song topics tend to be “whatever is buried in my subconscious that needs to come out,” she mused when asked on Monday. “I feel like it really runs the gamut. I’ve written a lot about love and loss and relationships and self-discovery and loneliness.

“I’m very inspired by nature. Whatever my landscape is tends to inform what I’m writing.”

Because of that, “the Northwest is very close to my heart,” Moody said. “I love being close to the ocean. I love the moodiness of it.”

She even kind of loves the rain, she said.

“It suits my desire to be introspective and write. I love hiking, love the big trees. There’s so much magic that I really connect to.”

Moody grew up in a musical family. Her mother, also a singer and pianist, taught music in elementary school. She, her parents and siblings “all sang and played together as a family.”

Moody was trained classically from the age of 4, but she knew she didn’t fit into the classical mode. Her music instead is informed by such traditions as Celtic, Old Time, bluegrass, gospel and folk.

What does she hope her music gives her listeners?

“I hope that music can be a healing thing for people and a way for people to connect with themselves or connect to something in themselves they need to,” Moody said. “I hope it can be transportive in some way.”

“I feel that when I’m singing,” she said. “I feel like I’m connected to some kind of, possibly spiritual energy. I’ve been on both ends of it, been the person communicating and the person listening. Art is so powerful that way.”

A founding member of The Wailin’ Jennys, Moody has performed around the world, made numerous albums, and has appeared more than a dozen times on “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Her first band was Scruj MacDuhk. She was the lead singer from 1997 until the group’s break up in 2001. After this split Moody began to focus on her songwriting and picked up the guitar, adding it to her repertoire of piano, bodhran, accordion and banjo.

In 2002, she and Nicky Mehta and Cara Luft the three took to the stage as The Wailin’ Jennys. The Jennys (now Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta and New York-based Heather Masse) have won numerous awards for their albums 40 Days and Bright Morning Stars. They have toured in North America, Europe and Australia.

Since then, Moody has released four full-length albums and an EP with The Wailin’ Jennys, and an album with two ex-members of Scruj MacDuhk, Jeremy Penner and Oliver Swain, called South Bound.

In 2010, Ruth released her first solo album, “The Garden.” Produced by David Travers-Smith, it was nominated for two Juno Awards, a Western Canadian Music Award and three Canadian Folk Music Awards.

“These Wilder Things,” was released in 2013. It was nominated for two Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Western Canadian Music Award, and her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ was one of CBC Radio 2’s most played played songs of 2013.

Since the release of “These Wilder Things” Moody has been touring non-stop throughout the world, as both a solo artist with her own band, or with The Wailin’ Jennys.

Moody has received recognition for several of her compositions in the USA Songwriting Competition and the International Songwriting Competition. In April 2012, she won first prize in the International Songwriting Competition (Gospel Category) for her song “Storm Comin.”

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

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