Review: Rusty Willoughby — Music from the front porch
Rusty Willoughby has been around the block — playing in Pure Joy, Flop and Llama over the years — but it’s a specifically Seattle block, and so the rest of us are forgiven for not knowing who he is.
But don’t let that stop you from checking out his most recent project, Cobirds Unite. The album is a series of duets with Rachel Flotard, a charming trip through the sounds of Americana. But more often than not, Rachel’s voice takes the backseat to Rusty’s, appearing only occasionally through the soft-spoken haze and acoustic guitars. It gives the album a sense of being played for you on someone’s front porch: a very specific mix that foregrounds some elements without entirely drowning out others. On this front porch, you’re right there next to Rusty, while Rachel sings softly from somewhere several feet beyond.
The standout track of the album, “C’mon C’mon,” inhabits the vernacular of lazy Sunday morning Americana perfectly, with a plaintive fiddle added to the mix. The tone shifts on the second half of the album, upping the alt-country ante with steel guitars (“Find a Way Home”), and then going dark and apocalyptic (“You Could Be Wrong,” “Of the Eyes of a Deer”).
Rest assured, Seattle won’t be keeping Rusty and company to themselves for much longer. In the past three months alone, the band has opened for Black Francis, Chrissie Hynde, and Bob Mould.
Preview songs and pick up the album here.