The Rustic Overtones are probably the most famous and certainly most popular band from the greater Portland area. I first heard them around 1998. Room by the Hours was out and Portland’s WCYY radio station was playing them in pretty regular rotation. During this time in my life I was spending my first days in the big city of Portland, after having grown up in a very small northern Maine town. I remember taking particular note of the Rustic Overtones because for me they were the first local band I had ever heard that actually wrote there own music. Northern Maine had there share of bands, just not many of them who aren’t cover bands. I don’t recall exactly, but I believe I saw them at Stone Coast Brewery and the Asylum at some point around this time. To be honest it wasn’t until Viva Nueva! came out that I really started to really get into them on a bigger scale.
So a little history for those who don’t know anything about Rustic. Rustic Overtones are a bunch of guys who went to high school together and started a cover band called Aces Wild. (My fiance, Andrea, actually went to school with them and recalls seeing them playing in a garage) They started writing music on there own and released three albums before getting signed to Arista Records, with the help of then head Clive Davis. While on Arista they recorded Viva Nueva!, but due to a label shake up the album ended up getting released on Tommy Boy Records. Shortly after Tommy Boy folded and they as a result broke up. This all took place between 1993 and 2002. Fast forward to 2007, all the member had spent the past few years doing various side projects (many of which were pretty successful really) the band reunited after drummer Tony McNaboe tricked everyone into agreeing to reunite by telling each member that everyone had already agreed to reunite. Initially it was supposed to be just a short reunion, but two albums later they are still going strong, lucky for us!
As for there musical style that’s a little harder to pin down exactly. They are (at least currently) a 6 piece band that includes guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and a horns section. They play a mix of rock, ska and funk and really fusion of all three.
So for your listening enjoyment I’m am going to post a few items so you can hear what Andrea and myself love so much about them. First is Andrea’s favorite song direct from Rustic’s own YouTube Channel. This is tittle Letter to the President and was release during George W. Bush’s term of presidency.
Next is one of my favorites Gas on Skin. This a live performance from there 2011 New Years Eve show at the Port City Music Hall. (great venue by the way)
For the last you will again have to have Spotify to listen to it. It is actually a playlist of there latest album New Way Out. I know highlights both Andrea and I agree on are Common Cold and Kathleen Caffeine. Just click on the this to enjoy the album.
Rustic Overtones Links: