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Rustic Overtones dedicate ‘Self Titled’ record to late ‘fearless leader’ Dave Noyes

December 3, 2019
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Rustic Overtones today. L to R: Lucas Desmond, Jason Ward, Jamie Colpoys, Dave Gutter, Gary Gemitti, John Roods. The band's new album "Self Titled" is dedicated to member Dave Noyes, who died in March. "We said 'we need to make this record,' says front man Dave Gutter. "Dave's death added urgency." Rustic Overtones today. L to R: Lucas Desmond, Jason Ward, Jamie Colpoys, Dave Gutter, Gary Gemitti, John Roods. The band's new album "Self Titled" is dedicated to member Dave Noyes, who died in March. "We said 'we need to make this record,' says front man Dave Gutter. "Dave's death added urgency." (photo courtesy Rustic Overtones)

The genre-busting musical Maine institution known as Rustic Overtones has just released their most heartfelt and meaningful record. The LP represents the first new music from the band since the sudden passing of band leader and trombonist Dave Noyes last March at age 45.

A beloved figure on the New England music scene, Noyes joined Rustic Overtones in the mid-1990s. He was also a husband and a father to two boys, one of whom was born after his death.

The 14-track “Self Titled” is different to anything we’ve heard from Rustic Overtones to date, thanks to Noyes’s original vision for the record, and the commitment of his band mates to see the project through.

“We said we need to make this record,” said front man and guitarist Dave Gutter. “Dave’s death added urgency. For me personally, finishing this record is how I mourned.”

The finished album, according to Gutter, is considerably different to the one they started, but he hopes they came close to Noyes’s original concept.

Variety has always been a hallmark of Rustic Overtones; however, Dave Gutter says his band has always felt they had a bit of an identity crisis. He credits Noyes with assuring them that it’s OK to be stylistically different.

“Every album jumps around stylistically, and we were always insecure about that fact,” Gutter said. “Dave (Noyes) said it’s OK to be all over the place, saying it’s like that with Brazilian music and he played us some examples of artists who emulated popular music from around the world with a Brazilian approach.”

Regarded by his bandmates as the group’s musicologist, Noyes had long been fascinated by the genre of Brazilian psychedelic rock, a version of which began to formulate in the mid-1950s and continues to this day.

Influenced by American rock and roll, Brazilian youth created their own version, using whatever gear was available, in secret makeshift studios away from prying government eyes and ears.

The self-made music made up for its lack of high fidelity by representing the thoughts and feelings of its creators, which in turn reflected the sensibilities of a generation. The results were banned by the authoritarian dictatorship that ruled Brazil for more than 20 years. Brazilian psych-rock represents freedom and liberation, and it was one of many genres beloved by Dave Noyes, according to Gutter.

Dave Gutter compares Noyes’s philosophy on remaining stylistically varied with the anything goes approach used by the band during long road trips in the van.

“It’s like our playlist when we’re traveling somewhere. We’ll listen to a gospel record and then somebody will insist we check out this samba record from the ‘70s. We approached our albums like that, and I think that’s what’s given us longevity musically.”

The new album begins with a voice memo recorded by Dave Noyes into his phone. It’s a song he was working on when he died, although Dave Gutter says they aren’t sure if it was meant for the band or something else.

“You hear him laughing and talking us through the song, telling us to go to the minor chord,” Gutter explained. “Then he says just leave it hanging, don’t resolve the chord, then he laughs. That’s Dave’s idea of a joke.”

Dave Noyes is all over the new album, with appearances on 11 of the record’s 14 tracks. Gutter says the finished record is much closer to what Noyes originally had in mind.

“There were a lot of ideas that Dave had posed to the band, and we made some instrumentals that were crazy and not very straight forward. I was hesitant at first to have those on the record. After he passed away, I felt I needed to crack this code and see what Dave was envisioning for this.”

To assist the band in realizing Noyes’s vision, his widow gave the group access to his private phone memos and demos, many of which are heard on “Self Titled.”

The album’s lead single “Black Shirt” includes former band member Spencer Albee on keyboards and is heavy on horns and swagger. It’s an infectious slice of deep-groove dance rock that deserves to be a hit.

The tape and film archive for Rustic Overtones contains roughly 300 hours of footage filmed on stage, on the road and in the studio. On the March evening when Dave Noyes died, Gutter was working on a documentary film covering the entire history of the band, including sessions with David Bowie for the group’s fourth record “Viva Nueva!” released in 2001.

“When Dave died, I was editing footage of the horn section joining the band,” Gutter said. “There were four people in a studio going through box after box of photos and video, looking for a photo of Dave Noyes and we couldn’t find one. He always eluded the camera; he was very humble and unassuming.”

Gutter hopes to finish the documentary sometime next year, saying “it’s a big undertaking.”

“Self Titled” is a beautifully executed tribute to the man Dave Gutter calls “our fearless leader.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 03 December 2019 08:49

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