It’s been quite a while since I released my previous Spotlight interview. The more, I feel flattered to dip into the German blues music scene for the first time. Rusty Stone is a blues rock artist from Munich, who is part of band project as well. The most well-known one is line Reverend Rusty & The Case. On 18th October 2021, he released his second album The Blues In Me. A good opportunity to have a chat with Rusty.
Flyctory.com meets Rusty Stone
FLYC: Rusty, your website heads with a Louis Armstrong quote, translated to German: “There is two kinds of music, the good, and the bad. I play the good kind.”. What does good music mean to you?
Rusty: Good music means to me that it’s really handmade and it got a good groove with a lot of soul. And in the end good music hits the heart.
FLYC: How did you get into music and played your first instruments, played in your first band?
Rusty: My dad played trumpet and I was early on interested in playing an instrument like guitar. I grew up in a poor family and when I was 9 years old I got a cheap acoustic guitar to start. I started to play in my first band almost late when I was about 20.
FLYC: How did you get into blues and roots music? Are there any artists who especially influenced you? Rusty: I got into blues and roots music while I listened to AFN (American Forces Network) and started to read magazines and books about blues and the musicians. I was always interested in slide guitar and I was influenced by Robert Johnson, Muddy Water, Johnny Winter and Duane Allman.
FLYC: Let’s come to your music. Your website states that you are active since 1984. In 2009, you released your first live album – but it took you ten more years until you released your studio debut Farewell. What finally made you go for that release?
Rusty: Between 2009 and the release of Farewell in 2019 I recorded a couple of albums with my band. But I began to play more solo gigs just because of economical reasons. And I wrote some new songs only for my solo project.
FLYC: This album, Farewell, comes with thirteen songs. Why did you decide for that title of the album?
Rusty: During the writing and preparing of the songs many people in my surrounding and of course known and unknown musicians died or struggled with illness like cancer. And this inspired me to write the instrumental tune Farewell and I decided to call the whole album Farewell.
FLYC: Is there a special song for you on Farewell? Some track you would especially recommend to listen to? And why?
Rusty: I would recommend November Days to listen to. Because the lyrics and music are very personal.
FLYC: Now, ten years later, you released The Blues In Me. Your press kit states that the pandemic did not only increase your blood pressure, but also your blues pressure. How did Covid-19 influence your album?
Rusty: As a musician I had a lot of time during these lockdowns. And this time I wanted to write original songs for the album. Exactly 8 songs are on the new album.
FLYC: Like in the Farewell album, you start with the title track. You ask in the chorus, Can’t you see the blues in me?. How do people react when you tell them you play blues music?
Rusty: Most people know me as a blues musician. Sure I’m rooted in the blues. But I also like other kinds of handmade music like country, folk, reggae and more. And a lotta people react very pleased when they listen to my kind of blues music.
FLYC: Did you also have gigs in North America? How did the people there react on blues music “Made in Germany”?
Rusty: It’s a long time ago since I was in the US. But blues music is universal. And as I wrote it in the title track of the new album The Blues In Me you don’t have to be born or raised in USA to play the blues.
FLYC: In A Song For You, you praise live concerts. How much did cancelled gigs influence you during the last two years?
Rusty: The cancelled gigs hit me very hard the last two years. And right now the cancelling of shows continues. I miss it very much to play in front of an audience.
FLYC: By the way, what is a perfect gig for you? A small, intimate venue or a major stage?
Rusty: I prefer small and intimate venues. But I wouldn’t care if I could play at a great festival on a bigger stage.
FLYC: You close the album with the ukulele instrumental Hummingbird – one of the many instruments you play by yourself on the album. Do you have any favorite one?
Rusty: All eight songs are my babies and I like all of them. I let decide the listeners for favorites.
FLYC: Apart from being on stage, you also offer music lessons and teach the guitar. The reviews read awesome. What do you feel is the key success factor to learn an instrument?
Rusty: The key factor for learning an instrument is the vast love for music in all forms. And surely to spend a lot of time to practice.
FLYC: A closing question not at all related to music: what is your favorite place in your home town Munich?
Rusty: My favorite place is the Nymphenburger Park in Munich.