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An Interview With Rusty Reid

A new single from Rusty Reid brings out a lush and classic contemporary sound that feels incredibly authentic and comes through with a lot of heart and honesty which is part of the song's drive as a whole.

"Our Love's With You" is a beautifully woven track that displays a lot of character and persona along with not only an emotional feed but a love for the craft of songwriting itself.

There's something very warm and welcoming about this song and it makes you think of people in your own life which I think might be the point with songs like this because you're able to relate to them on a different level.

The track is part of a full album release called Bayou Line (Songs from Houston) which is riddled with more of the same along with this great classic rock undertone and guitar work that helps create an atmosphere for the record itself.

There are a lot of songs on this album that stand on their own two legs as singles but honestly, listening to the full record as a whole is the best way to soak it in.

The guitar work across this record is a real key element to the songwriting approach and the overall tonality that it gives off because there are a lot of extremely memorable licks and they're all done with this subtlety that sticks with you very well, but also has a sort of softness to it.

The whole record walks as a beautifully balanced dynamic and shows a lot of attention to detail but never loses that heart or soul that the songs were actually built from in the first place.

"Our Love's With You" has its own soul and that is a glimpse of the full record but a great one at that.

You can really get an understanding of the authenticity and aesthetic that the record gives off by listening to the single and once you do, I'm sure you're going to want to hear more so switching over to the full record would be the next best thing.

This is a really well-thought-out release that shines with character and gives off this realness that you just can't turn away from.

Melodies and hooks swarm around your head for hours after the song has ended and if you listen to the full album, the same happens but even more.

You can clearly tell this was a passion project that meant a lot to Rusty and with its release we wanted to have a sit-down with the artist so we can find out where this track itself came from and what may be coming up next.

Here's what happened.

Buzz Slayers: Okay, let's start with "Our Love's With You"! This single was heartfelt and genuine with this amazing classic rock influence undertone! How did this release come about?

“Our Love’s With You” is from my 2023 album, “Bayou Line: Songs from Houston.” This is a compilation of songs I wrote back in my Houston days, which some of my early fans insisted I release. So I re-recorded them (or for a few songs, recorded for the first time), and here they are. “Our Love’s With You” was written for my little sister upon her graduation from high school and leaving for college. I think it’s one of my best melodies, and the lyrics offer some valid wisdom: lean into your youth, don’t hold back, pursue your goals, don’t give up, know you can do it, do it now, rest assured you are loved back home. Quite a few people have said it’s their favorite on the album. It’s definitely one of mine.

Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire songs for you?

Like many writers, I like to attempt to create something new and unique, even if I’m well within the bounds of a particular genre or approach. “Bayou Line” is filled mostly with relationship-related songs. The usual boy-meets-girl and/or boy-loses-girl fare. But I wanted to come at this tried-and-true thematic trope from a unique angle—or twist-- for each song. For instance, “My Troubles Have Just Begun” has the would-be lover knowing he’s in for a lot of grief before he can “taste the honey;” “Sunrise of Our Love” describes that early magic, when it’s not quite clear if it’s going to last; “Careless” depicts a growing lack of concern on her part; “Oh Well” (another of my favorites… and perhaps my best guitar playing) has the jilted lover retreating to some kind of gypsy camp down along the “bayou line” (where the album title comes from); “Words Don’t Come Easy” reflects on that clumsy phase when you’re kinda dumbfounded it’s all ending; “More Than St. John’s” (another fan favorite… and mine, too) has the protagonist reflecting back to a time and place and fumbled away love in Newfoundland (of all strange places for a Texas songwriter to be thinking about); “Rio Frio” describes a lonely cowboy of old (actually, probably an outlaw) camped on a remote river bank, missing his sweetheart; “The Masterpiece of You” was a real triumph for me, I thought, with its appreciation for a lover as a “masterpiece” by virtue of her beauty that the French Impressionist painters would recognize; “Another Night With You” describes a dalliance aboard an ocean liner docked in Tahiti – where the protagonist is hoping for a second night affair (or maybe more); “A Matter of When” and “That’s When the Fall Began” are fraternal twins, born back-to-back and describing, in totally different ways, the breakup I was actually going through at the time; “Corner of My Mind” is another love-lost song, but filled with philosophical musings and a strange flashback to a vacation to the Emerald Isle. The album also includes a few songs where there is no relationship involved, or such is not central to the song’s theme. “Look out Louisiana” and “Home One More Time” are going-home songs. “Riding On” is a song about persevering, surviving, plowing through adversity, finally breaking into the clear, out of the “long, cold dark.” There is someone that the singer would like to “ride on” with, but the journey is the real concept here. These days, I’m not writing many relationship songs. I’ve been there, done that. I’ll leave that to the younger, hotter boys and girls. Instead, I’m focusing on more worldly, political, philosophical, spiritual (not religious) concepts. Check out my previous album, “Head to Heart: A Revolutionary Manifesto in Song” for more of that.

Buzz Slayers: This track has some interesting approaches to it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?

“Our Love’s With You” is different than most of my work. I think that’s because it was written on piano, rather than my usual guitar starting place. When I write on guitar, I tend to come up with a chord progression and that dictates the melody. On piano, it seems like I’m freer to write a melody that will dictate the chords. I do think “Our Love’s With You” is one of my best melodies. Lyrically, it’s kind of a rare perspective. There’s a “we” involved. Who is “we?” Not stated. Whoever they are, they want “baby” to stay, but they will understand if “baby” has to go… to find happiness. Isn’t that the dilemma for many parents and siblings? They hate to let go… but the baby birds sometimes have to fly away to find their own place in the world. All of my influences were really into melody. Those include Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, the Beatles, the Doors, Tom Petty, Paul Simon, Jimmy Webb, Gordon Lightfoot. Those are among the most important. I’m still attracted to artists for whom melody is still key, like Brandi Carlile, the Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Adelle, Billie Eilish, too many to name. Melody is not dead… though it has to fight through a lot of tripe out there… particularly in pop and country.

Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

I live with a flock of parrots, have a big garden, write essays and am working on a book project. So there’s hardly a “restful” moment. I love to travel. Just returned from an epic road trip from southern Arizona to Montana and then out west back to Washington. 2400 miles in all. Slept in my car most nights. I live in the Puget Sound area. Used to kayak, but sold my boats last year. I felt bad for them just hanging from the rafters, sad and lonely.

Buzz Slayers: Who's in your headphones right now?

One of my upcoming albums is comprised entirely of songs written by Texas songwriters. So I’ve been enveloped by that project. In my search through a mountain of great songs, I discovered a band of young folks from Lake Jackson, Texas called “Blue Water Highway.” I’ve been grooving on them for a while now. I think I’ll do one of their songs. Paul Simon’s new album is great… of course. I put him right up there with the finest American singer-songwriters. If you want to say he’s the best, I won’t argue with you. I love what Taylor Swift is doing reclaiming her catalog. I’ve been following along with that a bit. I admire Lukas Nelson, Weyes Blood, Ethel Cain. I’m finding new stuff all the time. I love to bounce around the world on Radio Garden and just listen in. It’s very enlivening and enlightening.

Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?

Not many. I’ve done a few things recently, and have a couple of things coming up in the local area. But I’ve got so much to do in the studio, and with online promotion and such. Actually, I don’t like “that” kind of traveling much. Unless you’re an established brand, or backed by some bigger bucks, I’m not sure it’s that productive. You may well lose money on the road… as well as have to try to play for people who aren’t paying attention. I’m done with bars and lounges and restaurants and outdoor fairs. It has to be a “listening room,” or forget it.

Buzz Slayers: Do you record these at a big studio or do you have a home studio set-up?

It’s all at home now. I have a nice setup with everything I need. I do have some local players available, and sometimes we will duck into a real studio… but, you know, then the clock is ticking off the dollars, and you are rushed to take what you get. I find it actually better, and certainly cheaper, to take my time doing my parts at home, and then get players, from anywhere around the world, to do their parts at leisure at their own studio. They send their tracks to me, and we’re cooking. Yes, maybe you lose a bit of that live “magic,” but the ability to really take your time, get your parts down, experiment with different possibilities, and not go into debt, goes a long way in evening things out. I sure wish we had this technology when I was younger. You kids out there, appreciate what you got.

Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

I have three albums more or less in the can. They just need a few parts added and then mixed. Plus I’m doing a remix/remaster of my previous album, “Head to Heart.” After that, the next one up is a collection of recordings from my Houston rock band, the Unreasonables. Then the Texas songwriter cover album. Then an album of newer original material. And then, maybe, I can get on to that book project seriously. Probably not. There will most likely be yet another album arising soon after these three are released.

Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

I’d like to say thanks to fans of any and all music… or any art, for that matter. Especially if you are loving on original artists. Especially those that you discovered yourself because of your own searching. That shows you care to do a little work to go find them, rather than waiting for them to find you… which is very, very hard, not to mention expensive, for most artists to do. It’s easier for you to find them, than for them to find you. You can find them without spending a dime. Most people are too distracted and/or lazy to go find art that they will love. They just want to be spoon-fed by the media or by friends or whatever. The person who doesn’t wait around but goes out searching for stuff to love is a more conscious being.

For most artists, producing art will never be profitable. Indeed, over time, the artist might spend a fortune, while never making a dollar. We do it just because that’s who we are. We want to do it. We do it for ourselves. All artists must do their art, first and foremost, for themselves. The only sure reward is when you recognize that you pretty well succeeded in what you were trying to create. It’s not perfect… but it was worth the effort, and the vision was actualized. For many artists, that’s all the reward they get: self-satisfaction (more or less… artists are notoriously self-critical). So when someone tells them, “I like it.” Or “That’s cool” Or “I love it.” Or “Thank you for creating this.” That’s like a cool drink after a long, hot run. Such a simple thing can make a huge difference. Your positive comment could keep an artist from giving up. So thank you for being there, and being open to the new, the undiscovered, the person or group that is just doing their thing… and hoping that they aren’t the only ones who realize it’s a pretty good thing.

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