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Rusty Reid – The Meaning of Life

Rusty Reid – The Meaning of Life

Rusty Reid – The Meaning of Life

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Rusty Reid is an American, indie rock, singer-songwriter. He was born and raised in West Texas, later honing his songwriting mostly in Houston. He subsequently relocated to Los Angeles and then to the Seattle area.

Rusty writes melodic, guitar-powered songs, many of which are philosophic, political and/or spiritual (not religious) in thematic content.

He writes songs for the world, extolling universal virtue, defending the oppressed, and frequently throwing musical fireballs at the citadel of conformity and all its many cults.

Rusty Reid’s latest release is the album “Head to Heart,” a 78-minute “Revolutionary Manifesto in Song!”

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Tell us how you build the confidence to face the audience.

I am not particularly shy about facing an audience. The only thing I worry about is remembering the lyrics and chords.

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Tell us your weakness and strength in performance.

My strength is the melodic and lyrical content of my songs. I don’t think of myself as a “performer.” I’m a storyteller and truth-bringer.

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Discuss your songwriting.

I have been writing songs since I was 12 years old. It took me four years to write a good one.

In my younger days, my songs were the standard fare about love and loss of love.

Over the past few decades, I have been turning my songwriting to explore two primary themes: personal evolution and social evolution. Change for the better, in each realm, is what the world needs now.

I still want to deliver original melodies and lyrics that no one has heard before, and themes that discuss the most important concepts, including the meaning of life.

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List your other skills apart from singing.

First and foremost I’m a songwriting philosopher. My singing gets the job done for what I’m trying to communicate. No one else sounds like me. I don’t even sound like me sometimes.

My guitar playing is rather unique; I don’t claim to be a great player, but the lines are well crafted and delivered. I do also have players that are world class.

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Tell us the most memorable moment in your music career.

Probably the day I realized that I had been trying to follow the lead of others. Now I am blazing my own path.

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Discuss your first performance.

I started off as an actor, not a singer, playing the lead in a community play. I thought I would have stage fright, but I didn’t. Soon enough I segued into singing and playing guitar on stage. The first time for a large audience was at a high school assembly. In one evening I went from being a ‘nobody’ to being one of the most popular students. Hail, hail rock and roll.

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Elaborate on what you know about the music business.

Enough to know it has always sucked.

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List the instruments you can play.

Guitar, bass, keys, and drum programming.

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Tell us how you tackle a pitch in your performance.

I have never had much problem with it.

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Tell us how you build your melody.

Original melodies are extremely important to me. The clone melodies that predominate much of contemporary pop and country music are a plague (ditto the voices and lyrics… so much same-same-same).

I grew up in the 1960s where almost every tune had a great – never heard before – melody (plus distinctive voices… OK, lyrics sometimes weren’t all that great…. It was the melodies that stood out).

That original melody is what I strive for.  I usually write melody and lyrics together, so when first starting; either side can lead the way.

As the song comes together, its structure will emerge and the rest of the lyrics have to conform. But once the first draft of the song is finished, now it’s time to go back to both melody and lyrics and start tweaking… always looking for that originality. Can this melody do something unexpected? Has this lyric been said before? These are the essential questions I’m asking to transform an OK song into a much better one.

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Describe your live performance and recording in the studio.

I play live solo and sometimes with a band. With the band, I’m more energetic, but also allowing the wash of music to inspire. Think Tom Petty perhaps. I’m not a dancer. I don’t have dancers behind me. I don’t have a light show. Playing solo I try to deliver a little more “soulful” performance. It’s just me and guitar, nothing else. With both, I enjoy communicating back and forth with the audience between songs. I’m not Bob Dylan.

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Tell us if you prefer using live instruments for your recording.

“Live?” You mean everyone playing together in a studio? No, we don’t do that. My players are all over the world. But except for the occasional drum machine, it is real players playing real guitars, pianos, drums, etc.

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Tell us the feedback you are getting pertaining to your music.

So far, so good; although this album is too deep thematically for the attention span of most listeners – “Head to Heart” is a philosophic, political, spiritual journey. Most listeners are seeking a much shallower, quickie, experience.

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Discuss how you record your song.

Each song is different. On “Head to Heart,” I play all of the instruments on a few songs, the rest include at least one other musician. Only one of them, a drummer, is one of my local buddies; all the rest are far-flung around the world.

I send them the work that I have developed so far, and they add their contribution, which may range from a bass part to a complete revamp of the song.

Almost every track on the album was recorded at someone’s home studio. I am in the Seattle area. I have contributors from L.A., Nashville, Atlanta, Brazil, Ireland, Germany, India, etc.

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Tell us if you write all your songs.

Yes, or co-write.

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State your favourite song.

Varies – The most commercial is probably the title song “Head to Heart.” Currently, my fave is “There is a Pleasure in the Pathless Woods,” a musical take on the famous poem by Lord Byron.

There are three songs on the album that I “co-wrote” with famous poets. The others are “Eldorado” with Edgar Allan Poe, and “Sat Cit Ananda” with the anonymous author of the Indian “Moola Mantra.”

In each of these songs, I take a different approach to bringing these old words into the modern world of ideas and problems.

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Discuss the themes of your songs.

Ah, the themes – Simply the most important ideas of human history. The Story of Now. The Meaning of Life. Seeking Oneself. Universal Truth. Wisdom. Compassion. Oneness.

And a rundown of everything still fucked up about society: injustice, economic disparity, conservatism, women’s subjugation, animal abuse, pollution, global warming, etc.

If you want songs about ego or sex or trucks or bikinis or beer, this is not the album for you.

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Elaborate on the song.

Every song on the album is a philosophical, political and/or spiritual statement. You may or may not agree with the statement. But, if you do not, be prepared to have your mindset challenged. The world is changing; it always does. The question is how is it going to change. For better? Or for worse? And which is which?

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Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.

My name is Rusty Reid. The album was originally titled “Another Way,” because just about every song is speaking to another way of doing things from the way we are currently doing so. But that’s a bit cryptic, so after I wrote the song “Head to Heart,” I thought that might be a more appealing, immediately resonant…

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Share your press release and review with us.

Head to Heart:

Rusty Reid’s new CD, aptly titled, Head to Heart, takes us on a musical journey reminiscent of the 60s, punctuated with tones of East Indian sitar-like sounds in the song, “Sat Cit Ananda.”

Raising the question whether the Baby Boomer generation, the one that embraced flower power, has taken us where we wanted to go, Rusty’s musical statements have me reflecting on my past as well as the present.

“To Find Me” is an example of this soul-searching while the song, “Dismaland” commands, “We are better than this; we can turn it around.” Covering topics that should be near and dear to anyone, “Head to Heart” hits its mark beautifully.

– Vicki Welch Ayo, author (“Boys from Houston”)

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Kolade Olamide: I am a poet , writer, beat maker, chef, songwriter, web designer, music promoter,digital marketer, blogger and director.