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Live Music Week happens bi-annually at WERS to raise money to keep our station running. We ask if you can pledge your support in order to keep us live on air, bringing you live performances from your favorite musicians. Pledges can be made here.
To watch video of Rusty Belle perform “The Waves” Click Here!
What originated in a shared house’s living has now become quite the musical experience for not only the trio that make up Amherst’s own Rusty Belle, but also for anyone who listens to them. As they marched into the studio this afternoon for live music week, all of the staff here knew they were in for a treat. As Matt, Kate, and Zak entered, they were all smiles and laughs, giving the live-mix team tips and help with setting up their instruments and generally just having a good time. While they were practicing, one of the live-mix crew members even mentioned how much he loved when bands were as easy to work with as this band was.
Once all of the laughs and giggles subsided, the three members got right down to business with playing their set. It needs to be said that this wasn’t any average set. The instruments in this assortment included such objects as a coffee grind container, pots, and even a suitcase mic’d to be a kick drum. But, as hesitant as one may be to see all of these objects in a set, the end result when put together is something one has to hear to believe. They described each song as “a strange animal that we all ride” and as bizarre as this sounds, it fits the description perfectly.
They started with “North Carolina” off of their most resent live album Live From East Hampton, followed up with “Green Line Train” off of their old album Full Moon Weekend, and finished with as song from their upcoming album entitles “The Waves.” The three songs had common themes of beautiful harmonies, thumping percussion that any listener couldn’t help but tap his or her foot to, and intricate guitar playing not-so-noticeably in the background. Cymbals crashed, pots clunked, and suitcases thumped to create some of the most unique and beautifully raw music I have ever heard.
When asked to classify what genre exactly they were, Matt smirked as he said, “It took us quite a long time actually to describe it ourselves, but we finally settle on four simple words: roots rock junk folk… that is our genre!” For the most part though, they let the listener do the classifying, stating that they love hearing all of the ideas that listeners come up with to encapsulate what exactly their sound is.
“We’ve let our sound evolve as we’ve been together for these past six years.” Kate said. “We started out with quiet songs based around really strange noises, transformed into a pretty solid rock band, adapted then into a sort of country roots phase, and then ended up where we are today.” This sort of constant change isn’t intended at all to mess with the listener though, it is mainly to keep the listener, and the band members, interested in what is being played. “We would all get bored playing the same song over and over again, so when we allow our sound to evolve, it keeps the experience fresh and new for everybody!” Matt added.
The trio are actually going into the studio this weekend to record an actual studio album as opposed to the live one they recently released, and not even they know fully what to expect from it. “The one thing we know to expect when we walk out of that studio is to have a sound that we find inspiring, exciting, and completely unique.” Matt remarked with kick drum suitcase in hand, and after hearing that three song set, no listener would expect anything less.