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Rustic Overtones

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Founded: 1994

Headquarters: Portland, ME


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From their beginnings twenty years ago ago as teenagers playing in assorted basements in greater Portland Maine, Rustic Overtones have always crafted a unique sound. Combining elements of rock, ska, jazz and funk, they quickly rose to prominence as one of New England's most popular rock bands. After several indie EPs and LPs in the mid-nineties, they soon attracted the attention of Clive Davis, legendary head of Columbia, and then Arista Records. In 1999, the band went into the studio with guest appearances by David Bowie, Imogene Heap, Funkmaster Flex, and Tony Visconti, and the result was the groundbreaking "Viva Nueva". Shortly after this, Rustic Overtones found themselves in the midst of one of the biggest industry shake-ups in music history, when Davis was asked to step down from his own label of 25+ years. The band then managed to break with Arista Records while retaining the rights to their Master recordings, which were released a year later by classic indie label Tommy Boy Records. After two years of more than 260 shows a year, a widely successful radio campaign and a hit on Canada's "Much Music," Tommy Boy Records were bought out by Warner Bros. Music, and the Overtones again found themselves without a home. The band took a knee, a deep breath, and a much needed hiatus between 2002 and 2006 while individual members founded new side projects Seekonk, Paranoid Social Club, As Fast As and various solo projects, while other band members worked as sidemen with Ray Lamontagne, Soulive and Lettuce, to name a few. A spectacular reunion concert in Portland drew 6,000 fans in July 2007 as the band reunited and in 2009, they released New Way Out, called by The Portland Phoenix as the #1 local CD of the decade while the Boston Herald gushed "'New Way Out' is Rustic Overtones’ magnum opus - a great piece of work in every way."

2012 finds the band with a new CD, "Let's Start A Cult", a renewed energy and two new members. They continue to tour the northeast US as they approach their 20th anniversary year in 2013.

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