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“You really have to make it all happen at once,” Ruth Logsdon declares brightly, even though it’s well before noon. “You gotta have distribution, you gotta have radio airplay, and you gotta be able to tour. And we’re doing all three simultaneously. And things start to happen when you get that far.”
For Logsdon and her eponymous band, Ruthie and the Wranglers, “that far” also means the distance to Nashville, where the band appeared Saturday at the 12th Annual Extravaganza 97, a music industry confab. The Wranglers were one of 250 bands invited to play in 25 venues over the course of four days. That may sound like a madhouse, but Logsdon is resolutely enthusiastic.
“Even if you’re not playing, it’s worth going to because there’s so many people in the industry for you to meet,” says Logsdon. “It’s Contact City.” Contacts Logsdon met were handed her recent CD, Wrangler City, on which energetic originals mix comfortably with Leiber and Stoller and Gene Pitney classics.
The long-distance one-nighter came just three weeks before a previously scheduled tour will find the group back in Nashville. Logsdon takes this as a sign that “everything is falling in place.” One thing fell out of place, though: longtime guitarist Billy Shelton. “He didn’t quit and we didn’t actually fire him, but he can’t travel,” says Logsdon, regretfully. Thanks to a chance meeting, Phil Matthew, Charlie Byrd accompanist and member of the more classically oriented Washington Guitar Quintet, is eagerly donning Wrangler duds.
Though their styleand their futuremay be headquartered in Music City, there are no plans to relocate. “You can’t make a dime in Nashville,” says Logsdon. “All you can do is get a lot of exposure. And so we just go there to get exposure, then we come home to make money in our own town. You can make more money playing in the Washington, D.C., area than you can in Nashville. “‘Cause not everybody here is trying to make it in the music business,” she laughs. “But I keep finding I’m not the only
one around.” Dave Nuttycombe
Ruthie and the Wranglers play Feb. 28 with the Backsliders at Twist and Shout.