Country fans have probably already heard a little bit of Ruston Kelly’s music. Over the last few years, the Nashville songwriter has delivered a number of hits for artists like Josh Abbott Band (“Front Row Seat”), Tim McGraw (“Nashville Without You”), and a forthcoming one from Kenny Chesney. But Kelly is more than just a pen man for country artists, and he’s set to prove it with the release of his debut EP, Halloween.
Due out June 10th, the EP sees Kelly demonstrating that his talents stretch beyond the cowboy hat, beer-swinging boys of the south. “My goal for my debut was not to have a goal and only arrive to a collection of recordings that reflected a view from many different windows of my world at that specific time,” Ruston tells Consequence of Sound. “And to make a record my closest friends would respect, and say ‘My dude, that’s fucking sweet. Let’s hit the road.'” To that end he tapped brought on producer Mike Mogis, an indie folk stalwart who’s worked with Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit, and Jenny Lewis.
Lead single “Hurricane in My Head” shows just how perfect a choice Mogis was. The track has a familiar country drive to it, but one that sparks of Ryan Adams’ alternative take on the genre. Ripping harmonica solos cast out over a choppy river of clapping percussion glittering with sundown guitars. Kelly’s vocals lilt in a fashion that reinforces the Adams connection as he sings out for a caring lover: “Baby won’t you come and just lay me down/ Stay by the side of my bed/ It’s been one of those crazy days/ Like a hurricane in my head.”
“I wanted to feel like we were playing too loud in someone’s mom’s basement,” Kelly says of the track. “Like loud enough so the babe two houses down could hear.” Check out “Hurricane in My Head” below.