Over the phone, Ruth Moody very sweetly and very quietly asks me to remind people that she recently collaborated with Mark Knopfler, as in of the Dire Straits, and as in: She thinks she needs the extra cred to fill the seats at Moody’s show June 9 at Tsunami Books.
While Moody’s work with Knopfler is quite lovely, she does not need any validation. Moody has the chops. Her folksy vocal prowess, tender songwriting and nimbleness with an array of instruments have been on display for more than two decades; first in Canadian folk group Scruj MacDuhk (major cool points for band name) in the late ’90s and then in folk-roots band The Wailin’ Jennys, the award-winning trio Moody still tours with.
Moody also has a solo career, and on this note she’ll be coming to Eugene with her band. She tells EW that she’s in the middle of cooking up a new solo album, to follow up 2013’s These Wilder Things — a record that features her deft banjo pickin’ — as well as a new album with the Jennys. This mini tour of Oregon and Washington is partly to try out some new material.
“There are songs that reflect change and transition in life and new adventures,” Moody says. “They’ve barely been performed yet.”
Moody says she grew up in a musical family, where she was classically trained in piano and vocals. She now plays five instruments: guitar, bodhran, piano, accordion (because, in her words, it’s easier to transport than a piano) and a five-string banjo — the last instrument she picked up.
“About 10 years ago, I borrowed a banjo and started teaching myself how to play; I just loved it,” Moody says. She explains that it didn’t have the inherent pressures of an instrument from her childhood like the piano. “I was learning to play clawhammer [down-picking] style. I was mostly using it as a songwriting tool. That’s why I love it so much: There’s no baggage.”
Ruth Moody plays 8 pm Thursday, June 9, at Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette Street; $15. — Alex V. Cipolle