Photo: Alexa King

Download: – Ruston Kelly interview (or listen below)

Here’s a challenge for you: Go to the website of your favorite live venue, scroll through the upcoming concert calendar, pick out a name that you don’t recognize and check them out on YouTube, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, etc. Most of the time, you won’t find your next favorite band but when you get lucky … it’s pretty amazing.

Such was the case in December when I was scrolling through the Promowest site looking for bands that I might want to interview. The name Brothers Osborne was familiar, I knew they were a country act, but that’s the extent of my knowledge. It was the name of the opener, however, that stuck out and one I decided to learn more about. I had seen Ruston Kelly’s album Dying Star show up on some “Best of 2018” lists so I figured it would be worth at least a passing glance. The first song I checked out was “Blackout” and from the get-go, with the harmonica open, I knew this was something I was going to dive into further.

A quick Google search revealed some important info: Ruston Kelly is a Nashville-based songwriter who, in addition to writing songs for his own releases, has written songs for Tim McGraw and the Josh Abbott Band. He’s been called the “bastard disciple of Kurt Cobain and Townes Van Zandt“, has performed at Bonnaroo, opened for Colin Hay, Brian Fallon, Joseph, The Lone Bellow and Amanda Shires, covered Wheatus‘ “Teenage Dirtbag” in concert, and, in 2017, married Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves. Not only was I ready to become a big fan, I was ready to become Ruston’s new best friend! 

While it’s too early to tell if Ruston and Kacey are on their way to becoming the modern day Johnny and June, the couple recently paid tribute to the legendary Country couple by putting some of Johnny’s lyrics to music.

It was a pleasure having the chance to speak with Ruston a few weeks ago in advance of his gig with Brothers Osborne at Express Live on Wednesday, February 20. Tickets are $34 in advance, $36 at the door, which open at 7pm. Ruston’s been selling out his own headlining dates already in 2019 so make sure you arrive in time to catch his headline-worthy set.

And now, here’s my conversation with my new best friend 🙂