Rusty Gait performs Saturday at Poway Library
By Emily Sorensen
Come on down to the Poway library 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 and enjoy the next in the San Diego County Library’s free Acoustic Showcase concert series, featuring bluegrass band Rusty Gait.
“We’re a bluegrass band, but we have a swing in our step,” said James Rust, one of the band’s founders, who plays the mandolin, tenor guitar and does vocals. “We have a swinging rhythm.”
This six-member bluegrass band has been performing together for about a year, though all the members are experienced performers. Rusty Gait was started by fiddle player David Collins, lead guitarist Bill Frisbie and Rust. To help cover for Frisbie, who spends six months of the year in New York, rhythm guitarist Eric Bentley was brought in. They rounded out the group with Kevin Wallace, a banjo player from Rainbow, and Lance Gucwa, a classically trained bass player who has also performed with the La Jolla Symphony.
It is the band’s swing that they feel makes them distinct from other bluegrass bands. “We all kind of like that swing sound,” said Rust. “There’s not a lot of bluegrass bands that do that.” Rust described the band’s sound as “Texas swing,” a bluegrass-flavored swing.
It is thanks to the San Diego Bluegrass Society that Rusty Gait will be performing at the Poway Library, something Rust said he was looking forward to. “Poway has a really nice venue,” said Rust. Due to past gigs in libraries, Rust knows what to expect out of his audience. “People who come are really interested in listening,” said Rust. “They’re very polite.”
One aspect Rust said the group liked to focus on while performing was educating the audience on bluegrass. “Some of the songs we do are 300 to 400 years old,” said Rust. “It’s an educational experience for the audience.” Rust said the band will focus on songs with a story behind them for their Poway show, as well as some fun instrumental songs. “We do about 20 percent instrumental, which are pretty fast and foot-stomping,” said Rust. “Those are the ones that are usually pretty old.”
Concert-goers might even get a treat in the form of a long-lost song or two, thanks to Rust’s hobby of recovering old, lost lyrics to instrumental songs. “It’s my passion to find those lyrics,” said Rust. Any song whose lyrics he manages to find are cleaned up to be more family-friendly for the audience. “Old songs tend to be racist, sexist or violent,” said Rust.
Though the band has no recordings together as of yet, each individual member has live recordings of them on YouTube.
The Poway Library is located at 13137 Poway Road. For more information, call 858-513-2906.
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