Rust Dust – Twere But It Were So Simple
This is an interesting approach to stripped-back music that resonates if your listening pleasure comes with patience. Jason Stutts goes by the professional name Rust Dust & this second effort, a 29-minute 11-cut exploration has its silliness but packs in some generous kicks of country & blues roots & has what many commercial mainstream albums lack – ingenuity.
It reminds me a bit of a 1983 New York City synth keyboardist/studio musician Richard Termini (Project) who issued a similar LP of self-made pop tunes plugged into his elaborate keyboard. His exuberant stylish vocalizing & satisfyingly original melodic compositions (for its time) on “Dangerous Games” worked for me.
But here in 2023, we have the spacious-sound & simplistic colors of a Rust Dust album. My criticism? If done seriously, with some trimming of the noodling novelty fat, Jason Stutts’ could figure more prominently. The banjo plucking & trombone bursts are elementary but with focus Stutts’ voice could come across like a 50s blues troubadour with all the blemishes intact for authenticity.
Produced by Oscar winner/Grammy-nominated John DeNicola Twere But It Were So Simple (Drops March 10–Omad) the music was recorded live with some colorful language & the performance is spare in instrumentation, but it doesn’t compromise the quality of the effort. To some ears, the songs may sound like demos more than a finished product. But it’s the spareness that’s appealing rather than the sugar-coated over-arranged pieces often experienced in mainstream music.
It never sounds like it’s amateurish because an amateur wouldn’t delve into such heady creative tunes. Jason see-saws between curious songs, childish nips & solid blues (“Speaking In Tongues”). This song has a pinch of blues mixed liberally with an old-fashioned folky feel. Take away the echo, or voice treatment & the tune would have a more genuine traditional flavor.
“This New Light,” again has a curious appeal if only the echo on the voice were eliminated. Jason uses some vintage or “recreated” approaches with his marvelous guitars on this CD. A Godin Multiac (a modern nylon-string electric designed to sound acoustic when plugged into an old Yamaha nylon). Old gear is what Jason likes to use to achieve his exceptional sounds. I like it. The title cut is spelled correctly also – twere, & it’s hauntingly good.
This release is risky but nonetheless interesting because the approach is not held down by commerciality. “You Got To Move,” is quite an excellent blues cover. Vocals are sharp, bluesy & raw & the guitar is recorded with clarity. The groove is there, nice & deep. Splendid work.
Highlights – “Helter Fukov Awakens,” “Ice Cream Sandwich,” “Speaking In Tongues,” “Twere But It Were So Simple,” “Still Is Still Moving To Me” & “You Got To Move.”
Song Premiere – https://americanahighways.org/2023/01/30/video-premiere-rust-dust-sky/
Color image courtesy of Omad website. CD @ https://www.omadrecords.com/rustdust