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Historical society hosts musical event Sept. 2 in barnyard

Tom Arbuckle to entertain as part of ongoing series on lawn in Troutdale


PHOTO COURTESY OF JON D. LOWELL - Music fans gather for a Barnyard Concert, put on by the Troutdale Historical Society. The next show is set for Friday, Sept. 2. Tom Arbuckle has sung at various clubs and halls in our area for decades, as well as played guitar and keyboards. Today he’s probably best known in these parts for hosting karaoke nights at the Eagles Lodge at 117 N.E. Roberts Ave.

From 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, Arbuckle invites folks in to sing popular songs. Arbuckle says his show is clean and listener friendly.

“I don’t play dirty songs,” he says. “It’s a family club.”

You can buy alcoholic drinks there, but shows are all ages, he says. Local amateur singers lend their pipes to songs by everyone from Hank Williams to Taylor Swift, he says. Arbuckle likes the variety of characters who show up for karaoke.

“I have one old guy about 92, and his wife, she’s 87,” he says. “They come in every week, and they sing old country music.”

Arbuckle himself is a big country music fan, and counts Don Williams and Charley Pride among his favorites. Merle Haggard, who died in April, tops his list of country vocalists.

“He was a stylistic singer,” Arbuckle says. “He put his soul into his music and that’s what I loved about him. He sang effortlessly.”

Barnyard bash

Arbuckle plans to do a little singing himself at the third and final concert in a series of “Barnyard Concerts,” the Troutdale Historical Society has hosted this summer in conjunction with Troutdale’s First Friday ArtWalk.

The concerts take place on the back lawn of Harlow House Park, 732 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, next door to the Barn Exhibit Hall, featuring an exhibit on the highway, which turned 100 this year. The highway exhibit will be open for the evening.

On Friday, Sept. 2, from 6-8 p.m., Arbuckle will sing accompanied by recorded music, and adds he also plans on having a “mystery guest.”

“Not to brag or anything, but I can sing the hell out of a song,” he says with a chuckle.

Folks are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket and plant themselves on the lawn to enjoy the show. Arbuckle’s no stranger to entertaining, noting he bought a $17 guitar from a Salt Lake City pawnshop in the mid 1960s. An army medic at the time, his career began with rock ‘n’ roll and jamming with a band in Japan, where he was stationed.

“We used to go around to the wards with the Vietnam War patients and play for them,” he says, noting the band performed popular hits by such groups as The Beatles.

After being discharged from the arm in 1968, he played in a rock quartet in Maryland but found himself more and more partial to country music.

“I liked the lilt to it, and I liked the singers,” he says, noting he enjoys the storytelling aspect of a lot of country music. “The country music thing is where it’s at as far as I’m concerned.”

Arbuckle moved to Oregon in 1970, and is married to his wife of 29 years, Sharon Petri, with whom he raised five children. He has worked a wide variety of jobs, but always stayed in music. Along the way, he’s worked as a member of various bands, a solo performer, and as a square dance caller.

“I’ve loved music all my life,” he says. “It’s a passion with me.”