Cover of Rustic Overtones’ latest release “The Lucky Ones.” Image courtesy of Rustic Overtones

Rock band Rustic Overtones lost its trombone player and musical visionary Dave Noyes two years ago and is celebrating his contributions by releasing the album “The Lucky Ones,” a compilation of stripped-down versions of seven previously released tracks that highlight Noyes’ talents.

Noyes died in his sleep on March 7, 2019, leaving behind his wife, Anna Maria Amoroso Noyes; their 4-year-old son, Noah; and their then-unborn son Wes, who is now 18 months.

March 22 would have been Noyes’ 47th birthday. The band had planned to gather at his grave in Portland’s Evergreen Cemetery to film a tribute, but frontman Dave Gutter’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis sidelined that idea. Instead, they released “The Lucky Ones.”

Gutter said work on “The Lucky Ones” started almost immediately after Noyes died, when current and former band members gathered at their Portland recording studio and started poring through the countless amounts of notes and audio files Noyes left behind.

I listened to “The Lucky Ones,” which is available to stream on YouTube, about four times all the way through and enjoyed the heck out of it because you could hear band’s chatter and laughter between tracks, and the genius of Dave Noyes permeates every moment.

Six of the tracks are from the 2009 album “The New Way Out,” and the other, “Victory,” is from 2012’s “Let’s Start A Cult.” Some songs have a retro, lounge-y vibe, and others, an air of moody mystery. Listening to the original versions further enhanced my enjoyment of “The Lucky Ones” because some of the song’s complexities and nuances are revealed when the drums and guitars are removed.

“Picture you have Rustic Overtones, and you have the core rock-and-roll part of the band. You have guitar, bass, drums, and that’s the rock-and-roll part and then on top of that you have all these orchestral things. We took the rock-and-roll part out and just left Dave’s parts,” explained Gutter.

Gutter said that Noyes was a minimalist, and the band wanted to honor that style. “Although it’s grandiose, every character plays a part. It’s amazing. You get to listen to Dave Noyes’ brain.”

Gutter recalled that when they were making “The New Way Out” nearly a dozen years ago, he would come up with musical parts that he described as being really corny and campy, and it was Noyes’ job to make them sound cool. “He would always bring out the best in the song, and he always had an amazing foresight into the potential of a song,” said Gutter.

As for the title, Gutter said that Rustic drummer Gary Gemitti referred to all of them as the lucky ones because they got to spend so much time with Noyes. Additionally, Gutter said that he feels like these songs were the lucky ones in their catalog because they were chosen by Noyes to get a “regal, royal treatment.”

Gutter said that Rustic could release more stripped-down albums like “The Lucky Ones” for years to come. They have plenty of material to work with because they do all the recordings at their own studio. Working with the original recording sessions files, Gutter said, makes them all feel closer to Noyes whom they still miss dearly.

Gutter noted that Rustic Overtones has always shifted their style with every release. “I think that now we are based in the parameters which Dave kind of set out. He kind of laid blueprints for what he thought Rustic should be. It was all Dave Noyes, so we’re just gonna try and be as cool as him and put out cool music.”

Mission accomplished with “The Lucky Ones.”

Here’s “The Lucky Ones:”


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