Justin Hulsey

Originally from Kansas City, KS, Justin Hulsey made Nashville, TN his home in 2002.

Drawing inspiration from a wide array of artists including Jackson Browne, REM, David Gray, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Travis and many more, Hulsey has crafted a sound and a voice all his own.

In 2004 Justin went into the studio with producer Donnie Boutwell to work on what would become The Ghost EP. The two spent several weeks in the former Park Studio fostering an atmosphere of pure creativity. Drawn closer to the dark musings of Nick Drake and Elbow’s artful ambiguity, Justin had arrived at a new, distinctively different place, while honing his trademark honesty and emotive flare for the subtle dramatic.

In 2007 Justin returned to the studio, this time with producer Chad Brown (credits to Ryan Adams, Stateside, Alison Kraus & Union Station). Four Songs called for a more minimalist treatment. Primarily acoustic, the EP features world-class musicians including Brad Pemberton (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals) on drums and the legendary pedal steel of Lloyd Green (credited to The Byrds, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney). Showing as much restraint as his previous EP indulged, this is just the showcase these songs require. According to Brown, this record is “much like Justin’s personality—sincere and whimsical. He’ll deliver one poignant line after another—poetic and melodic.”

Hulsey’s latest effort Light Up The Road makes it clear that this is an artist unafraid to push the boundaries of the singer-songwriter genre. Recorded in Los Angles, CA with producer Justin Glasco (multi-instrumentalist for Jessie Baylin, Cary Brothers, Gary Jules, Matt Kearney) Light Up The Road has some of Justin’s strongest material to date. The struggles between love and letting go and the religious and the political all combine to create brutally honest lyrics that have the ability to make the listener think twice and musical arrangements that do nothing less than make those words truly come alive.

Justin is performing live backed by a band as well as solo acoustic.

Rustin Smith

Midwest songwriter Rustin Smith creates intelligent rock songs from sonic headwaters discovered in a childhood spent spinning 45's from 1960's pop and country to 1980's synth rock.

Having achieved critical accolades with Ardent Records band Satellite Soul and solo indie record Steering Wheel, Smith spent years writing, producing and performing for other artists during his own series of fizzled label deals and unreleased projects. Now Smith has resurfaced with Soldier Songs, a collection of eight songs about war and peace, confession and absolution, desire and lament. The result is a haunting convergence of the intimate and the epic, what we fight for and what we fight about, dramatized in civil war love letters and space fantasies at the mall arcade.

Soldier Songs has found a way to comprehensively give voice to Smith's meandering biography that stretches from the hayfields of Kansas to rock-festival shows to ordination as a local minister.

Songs evokes the self-doubt of the hero (Lovers in a Time of War, Soldier Song) as easily as the illusions of love (Evangeline) and rock-n-roll (I Believe in Tonight). Angels cautions taking matters into one's own hands, while Still Hallelujah is a poignant surrender ("this is what is / so for what is, hallelujah..."). Chains is a first-person tale of the aftershock of liberation, and Last reveals the bitter longing for permanence ("Now that I'm older / it just hurts to dream").

The particularity of it all invites reflection on the past and future, on those near and far-off, on the living and the dead.

For Soldier Songs, Smith rekindled collaboration with producer/engineer James Felver and former Satellite Soul bandmate, drummer Ryan Green (John McKenna Band). Everything else, from guitars and harmonica, piano and synths, bass and vocals are performed by Rustin. The record began as an exercise for creative renewal during a sabbatical season. The entire project was recorded over a few weeks in the Summer of 2013 as a gift to his church congregation.

Soldier Songs is a noteworthy collection of songs and sounds that will connect the soul of a journeyed artist to an audience listening for deft depth and enduring hooks. Whether traveling by steamboat or rocket-ship, Soldier Songs will prove a faithful soundtrack.

John Scott-Young


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