CD Review – The Rusty Doves Live

I think it’s safe to say that at this point, anyone around the general CNY area has heard about the folk-americana/ jazzy swinging newgrass duo, The Rusty Doves.  The pair has played countless types of shows around the Utica area from opening up for acts like Rusted Root to playing their lively music for children in the Utica City School District.  I was more excited than usual to take a hot off the press copy of The Rusty Doves’ newest effort, especially after learning it was a live recording.  As I’d hoped, this disc is nothing short of a pure delight and captures the style, energy, and extra special quality that The Doves embody.  I have to immediately and highly recommend that this become a part of your music arsenal, especially if you are already a fan of this project.  If you are new to the Doves’ music, this is an excellent chance for you to find out what all of the fuss is about.

I had a chance to speak with Jerry D, the duo’s bassist, about how this CD came to be.  The recording is of a show they performed about a year ago with Strung Sideways, another great local group.  When Jerry and Alyssa (Stock, vocals and mandolin) heard the tracks back, they were very pleased with the quality and way their music was represented.  They’d become somewhat frustrated with attempting to get the same energetic sound out of their music in a studio setting and were happy to hear their true music selves reflected back at them from this set of songs.  They decided to run with it, and that brings us to this album, officially releasing on November 3, 2012 with a shindig at The Green Onion Pub on Genesee Street in Utica, NY.

This effort is delightfully grassroots.  As I understand it, the recording was done by Strung Sideways themselves and the business as usual aura created a great scene for Jerry and Alyssa to simply be themselves and do what they do; make cheerful (though sometimes deliciously, deceptively dark in subject matter) and organic music.  Most of the songs represented here are covers reflected through The Doves’ unique prism, but “Shadow Blues” is an original composition.  Whether interpreting the songs of others or crafting their own creations, The Rusty Doves’ sets always are cohesive.  They have a distinct style that they are able, or perhaps more appropriately compelled, to carry from one song to the next regardless of the genre the original artist worked in.  They know who they are and this translates.  It is folk and it is americana, but it also draws from a big band and swing sound which really sets the Doves apart from some of their brethren on the circuit.  Their modern selections come out sounding expertly antiqued.  There is no denying Jerry and Alyssa’s musicianship either.  The way each dances through keys on their respective instruments shows a mastery of craft.  They leave no room for laziness, stock structures, or the easy way out of a song as they chromatically build one chord upon another; the chugging rhythm of the mandolin to the perfect counterpoint of bass.

I expect your journey into this live compilation to be a pleasant one.  Once you fall in love, please share this great music with a friend and help the network grow for these dedicated independent musicians.


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