The musical dream planted in Dustin Ruth is more than just a whim. Though at one time it seemed to him that it might be, few have demonstrated his tenacity in transforming what was once a seemingly unattainable fantasy into a beautiful reality. His journey has taught him what "secondhand dreams" really are, as the desires of his heart to touch human souls with sound have been placed there for a reason, from above.
Since age fifteen, in the late 1990's, Dustin had been strumming his guitar, writing songs, developing his craft until he would have the opportunity to try his hand as career artist. As his high school tenure began drawing to a close, he began to realize that opportunity was scarce in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. So he did what few in his position would have the guts to do: Wide-eyed and filled with optimism, he moved to Los Angeles, with only his guitar and an eager attitude. It would be the classic tale that so many have shared in the City of Angels.
"My journey to L.A. was a very important learning experience. After the initial shock of a severe case of homesickness, it was a very freeing time in my life. It seemed as thought there were no fences or borders. In retrospect, God had his hand around me the whole time. Yeah, I landed a few shows, but little came of it. I spent a year there, but began wanting more out of the music. I wanted to be in a rock'n'roll band and play the electric guitar. But I did learn quite a bit about the music business, even if it was through falling on my face quite a bit. I decided to come back home and start over with the knowledge I gained."
Upon arriving home, Dustin began looking for answers in the wrong places. After several months of "jamming" with friends and forming a new band, he soon found himself soiled in the world. He was surrounded by a group of people pursuing an empty dream: partying, drugs, purposelessness, and a path to an empty existence.
He knew there had to be something more. It was then that a close friend clued him into a different way. A better way.
"After years of trying on my own, I decided to commit my plans to God, to submit my life to The Lord, and stop living without purpose inside my goals. It took a couple years but I found a committed group of guys who wanted the same thing. At this point in my writing I was starting to feel like the songs were ready for the world to hear. From there, it seemed like all the doors opened. I blinked, and we were playing shows and releasing an EP. It sold a couple thousand copies and we started showcasing for labels. It wasn't long before we found ourselves on Tooth and Nail, right where we needed to be, with a huge opportunity to get the music out to many people. "
Ruth showcases everything that is right about post-90's radio/pop rock. Think Nirvana, Radiohead, Third Eye Blind, and Counting Crows. Combine that with a touch of the singer/songwriting finesse of Ryan Adams, and you have a formula for emotive melody, memorable choruses, and passionate songwriting. This is Ruth. Intimate. Dynamic. Memorable. Accessible.
"I have always been a sucker for melody. I wanted to take all the best parts of my inspiration, combine them with honest lyrics, and write songs that hopefully people would enjoy, possibly be moved by. Most importantly these songs are a responsibility. We believe they are gifts that we are held accountable for."
If there is one characteristic, one virtue that defines the spirit of Ruth, it is hope--hope amidst real life circumstance. This theme was introduced on their debut EP (NAME), but will, no doubt, dominate the upcoming debut album. Of the newest material, several tracks illuminate this concept. On "Godstorm," a soaring track which explores the issue of facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles in life, Dustin proclaims, When you call my name, to walk on water. You are the waves that I feel when I'm sinking. You are the storms that i feel when im dying. You are God. The song "Second Hand Dream'n," which could be classified as the theme track for Dustin's journey, professes the idea that God gives us the desires of our hearts for a reason, with conviction: I want to be who you want, want to do what you want, want to be only yours. I give you all that I am, give you all that I was, give you all that I'm supposed to be. Finally, "Work it out" is a song that gives a voice to the countless children of divorced parents in this generation: Everyday I'm felling more alone...I can't make it out here on my own, would you call out to me because i want to believe. Combined with the lush melodic landscape of the songwriting, these songs promise to bridge the gap between loss and healing in the lives of real people.
In the fall of 2006 Ruth recorded their first full-length with the famed producer/mixer team of Aaron Sprinkle and Jr McNeely (Jeremy Camp, Falling up, Anberllin, The Send, The Almost). The band couldn't have been in better hands to create a record that is in line with their vision, as Dustin states, "We couldn't be happier to work with Aaron and J.R. They have worked on so many influential albums and challenged us by the production quality of our songs." They had little doubt that Aaron's production would help them to hone the material even more, as he has done so many times in the past with bands who have similar goals as theirs.
Upon the release of their debut in June 2007, the band promises to make a crucial impact in both radio and touring markets across the land. Fresh off a tour with labelmates Falling Up, also with the Send, the groundswell has begun for Ruth, who plans to play over 200 shows in the next eighteen months. In coordination with heavy touring, radio will be a key element in the equation. As previously mentioned, writing accessible commercial material seems to be more than a forte' for Dustin and his comrades...it's a calling.
"Ruth is an acronym for Return Us To Him. That being said, the hope is that this music could help steer hearts in the right direction. I have learned through my experiences that without an alignment of your dreams God's plan for your life, you will run into walls. God puts the desires of your heart there for His glory hence the title "Secondhand Dreaming". Music is a very powerful thing. It stimulates more than just emotions and thoughts--it can really move someone, it can really change who someone is. If nothing else, I know these songs helped steer my heart in the right direction."