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Big crowd expected at Franco Center for Rustic Overtones

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LEWISTON The most popular band to ever come out of Maine, if one is using album sales as a yardstick, will perform at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston on Friday, April 26.

Rustic Overtones is a seven-piece group whose unique sound comes from vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Dave Gutter's throaty, distinctive voice and the band's three-piece horn section, a member of which has played as part of opening acts for Dave Matthews and Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden.

Formed in the early 1990s while Gutter and bassist Jon Roods were still students at Gorham High School, the band appeared to be on the brink of national stardom in 2001. Their album 'Viva Nueva!' was produced by David Bowie's long-time producer Tony Visconti and featured Bowie's pronounced backing vocals on a couple of tracks.

But then the band's record label, Arista Records, went through a major reorganization that left the label's founder and the band's primary supporter the legendary Clive Davis, now chief creative officer for Sony Music shut out of the label he ran for 25 years. The shake-up also left the album and the band languishing in a sort of musical limbo.

An independent subsidiary of Warner Brothers, Tommy Boy Records, eventually released the album, but Warner and Tommy Boy parted ways in 2002, leaving the band without a label to call home for the second time in two years.

The band broke up that same year but reunited in 2007 to play a series of concerts, including one in downtown Portland that drew several thousand fans to Monument Square. At the same time they released a new album called 'Light at the End,' sparking a renewed energy that they've maintained ever since. Their seventh and most recent  full-length album, the concept album 'Let's Start a Cult,' was released last summer to critical acclaim, and the band is about to begin a tour that will take them through cities throughout the northeast.

Tickets for Rustic Overtones' show at the Franco Center which is open to fans 18 years old and up are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.francocenter.org, by phone at 689-2000, or may be purchased at the Franco Center box office.

The Franco Center will cordon off a section of its bar where adults over the age of 21 can buy and consume alcoholic beverages and still enjoy direct sightlines to the stage.

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