Miles Nielsen And The Rusted Hearts
228 W Sprague Ave
Spokane, WA, 99201
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Miles Nielsen And The Rusted Hearts
Rockford, IL-based Miles Nielsen has spent nearly a decade enthralling audiences with music that draws force from the prime years of Western-influenced rock music and classic ‘60s soul. Claiming influences as diverse as Otis Redding’s classic soul and Jellyfish’s cult power pop recordings, Nielsen has thus far released two albums – his debut in 2009 as a solo artist, and then his sophomore album in 2012 as Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts – to critical acclaim and an ever-growing fanbase. The Rusted Hearts’ hot streak will continue this year with their upcoming third LP, Heavy Metal.
Heavy Metal blends the country-esque drawl and growling guitars of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with the subtly sensual undercurrent of Ray Charles. Vocal harmonies present throughout the album recall Fleetwood Mac as strongly as they bring to mind the very first doo wop groups. But despite The Rusted Hearts’ readily apparent influences, the result of these combined roots is a singular sound that readily distinguishes the band from its peers.
Throughout Heavy Metal, The Rusted Hearts combine their sonic forebears into a style that’s entirely theirs, resulting in songs that boast layers upon layers of complexity under their irresistible surfaces. Underneath the gorgeous guitar lines and vocal harmonies outlining this album, brilliantly intertwined riffs and melodies empower The Rusted Hearts with a supremely resonant emotive force. Nielsen employs his songwriting genius to weave in instruments beyond the traditional rock band setup at exactly the right moments, fading these additional flavors in and out of focus exactly when his songs’ emotional development demands this. With this seasoned veteran at their helm, The Rusted Hearts’ seamlessly marry country, soul, pop, and rock, resulting in ten songs that appeal to just about everyone keeping an open ear.
Although Nielsen leads The Rusted Hearts, Heavy Metal isn’t just his journey. The album is credited to a band rather than just Nielsen for a reason: his intent in giving a name to this group was to make sure its members understand how deeply he values their guidance in his spiritual and musical explorations. These friends comprise the same clique that Nielsen has continued to record and tour with for years, a lineup that’s survived the treacherous changes that recent years have brought to his personal life. Since his 2009 debut, The Rusted Hearts have stuck right by his side, and he continues to return to the favor by continuing to expand his musical endeavors into a grander, more layered sound fitting for a full band to work with.
Recent years have seen The Rusted Hearts sharing stages with similar artists including Dr. Dog and Rhett Miller to extensive fanfare and acclaim. The Hearts’ time on the road allowed the band members’ interpersonal chemistry to blossom, driving them to reimagine Nielsen’s past solo songs as vivid, full band anthems. This kind of transformation can be attributed to Nielsen being raised in a household that appreciated the classic rock band setup – yes, this is the same Nielsen blood that runs throughout Cheap Trick lead guitarist and main songwriter Rick Nielsen’s veins – but it’s more strongly a result of his extensive background in classical voice and recording engineering, two vital musical areas he has degrees in. Heavy Metal’s aching, heartfelt vocals and pristine, lucid production attest to Nielsen’s extensive skills in these areas, but more importantly, they remind listeners that they’re listening to a truly talented musician and songwriter.
It would be impossible to draw a straight line through Scott Ryan's repertoire and hit every genre and sound he's managed to flirt with over the years; he's a bit of a restless, sonic explorer. And yet, every wild, eclectic idea has always been unified by a literate, witty lyrical style and of course, that powerful voice.
Born and bred in the northwest, Scott spent his early years in eastern Washington and Salem, Oregon. Raised in a musical family, Scott Ryan learned to sing performing with his father (something of a musical celebrity in the northwest) and made music with his siblings from an early age. After teaching himself to play guitar and knocking around the Salem music scene for a few years, he moved to southern California to study music. It was there that he began to build a unique catalogue of songs and a reputation for dynamic live performances. His sound is layered and eclectic, often alternating between unabashedly wild left turns and quiet, unexpected beauty. His lyrics seek to find common ground between idealism and the life we are given, while attempting to bring solace and humor in the midst of questioning.
After 10 years of releasing records, touring the west coast, sharing the stage with acts like Josh Ritter and Wild Belle, collaborating with artists like Robert Delong and licensing his music for film and television, Scott and his family migrated back to the Pacific Northwest where he began new projects, playing guitar for Water Monster, and beginning work on his newest release, 'Object Permanence.' Inspired by the turbulence of transition, as well as financial concern, Object Permanence pays tribute to some of Scott's most influential pop and rock records of the past, sonically nodding to artists like Bowie on 'Spent (Prosperity Gospel),' the Beatles on 'Louise Louise,' and even some Harry Nilsson and ELO on epic closer, 'Invisible Inkling.' These songs are psychedelic, rabbit-hole pop music at its best, and showcase Scott's continuing artistic evolution. From folk to indie rock to avant garde power pop, with Scott Ryan, its next to impossible to guess what he will do next. Rest assured however, that whatever it is, it will be well worth a listen.