Rusty Wright Blues Band: I Ain't From Mississippi
AAJ: Also, you have received some awards for your CD, haven't you?
LLW We were nominated for two Jammie Awards and two Detroit Music Awards in 2007. If we actually won any awards we don't know about them.
AAJ: Considering the size of your band (and I know this is a tall order) would you like to introduce the members of your band?
LLW: Rusty Wright (primary songwriter and music arranger, lead vocalist, lead guitarist); Laurie LaCross-Wright (lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist); Dan Mata (drummer, harmony vocals); Andy Barencek (bass, harmony vocals); Jason Slackta (alternate bassist); Brent Mata (alto sax); Brandon Mata (tenor sax); Dave Brahce (Hammond B3 and keyboards).
AAJ: When you come to composing, can you describe your creative process? Do you both write songs? How much input do you get from the other members of the band?
RW: I usually do the majority of the writing and then Laurie will help write lyrics and melodies. The band gets a recorded demo and then we'll start rehearsing. During that process there will be more "tweaks" and the guys will throw out ideas about the arrangement if something hits them. It tends to be an evolution, a lot of times.
AAJ: What big things can we expect from Rusty Wright Blues?
RW: Well, I have new material for the next record and we'd like to begin recording the next CD in the fall. I feel these new songs will reflect the current band. Our sound has evolved a lot in the past year or so and we want to capture that.
We are working on broadening our concert and festival tours and hope to get to Europe next year, which is where a high percentage of our online CD orders are coming from. We're trying to finalize a deal with a reputable agency over there, so that is still in the talking stages.
We are also talking to an entertainment company about a distribution deal which would put our music in major chain stores throughout the US. And of course we will continue to play our hearts out for all the marvelous folks who come to hear us!
LLW: We really love doing theater concertswe just did did one with Etta James at The Whiting here in Flint that was more fun than should be legal. Its a beautiful venue and we were really touched by the number of people who came out to hear us and support us that night. We're working on more of those kind of shows for next fall.
This year the band will be traveling a little further afield playing shows throughout the Midwest, including Bayfront Bluesfest in Duluth, Minnesota, which is one of the top ten blues festivals in the country, and we're already gearing up for the St. John Blues Festival in 2009. We've got a friend working on a travel package for people who want to travel down to the US Virgin Islands with us. That festival gig came about as a direct result of our participation in the International Blues Challenge, and we're very exciting about going down there to perform.
We have some really nice shows lined up for this summer, with more being added every week. Right now we are waiting for confirmation on a really cool tour we are very excited over, but can't talk about yet because it's still tentative.
Rusty Wright Blues Band, I Ain't From Mississippi (Sadson Music, 2006)