On the 2018 album Dying Star, Ruston Kelly established himself as an ideal country singer for thirtysomethings raised on grunge and emotional hardcore. The jokey self-descriptor “dirt emo” suits the tender-hearted dreamer revealed on “Blackout” and “Faceplant.” These and other tracks recast country and folk traditions for the last generation with memories of hearing decent rock music on commercial airwaves. Think of him as a troubadour with wisdom beyond his years and an affinity for your favorite songwriters, from Kurt Cobain to Townes Van Zandt. Kelly’s now on the road, plotting more ways to be discovered by those of us who appreciate our Americana with a helping of down-home emo.
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