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Susto: & we’re fine today

When: Saturday, November 11thDoors at 8:30 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Rose Music Hall
Tickets: $10 in advance | $12 day of show
Opener: Dawg Yawp + Blue Jay

On SUSTO’s latest record, & I’m Fine Today, the five-piece band manages to blend elements of Americana and psychedelic rock to create their own unique sound. Lead single Waves is like if early A.M.-era Wilco collaborated with Oasis during the Gallagher brothers’ psychedelic phase on Standing On The Shoulder of Giants. 

And most importantly, it works.

The album deals heavily with visions and dreams for its narrative base. Lead singer Justin Osborne is willing to get very personal with his lyrics. And while the record deals with difficult topics, at the core of the record is hope. Whether it’s dealing with his father’s cancer in “Far Out Feeling” or substance abuse in “Hard Drugs”, Osborne’s lyrics provide hope. Hope that any problem in life eventually works itself out on its own, and the best that anyone can do is take it in stride.

The album concludes with “Jah Werx” an uplifting song about community and having people to help you through those dark times — perfectly describing the overall sentiment of the record.

“Jah Werx, and I’m fine today.”

SUSTO returns to Rose Music Hall this Saturday night following up on a headlining show last June at Rose that turned out to be a staff favorite.

Be sure to come early to see local indie-folk band Blue Jay! Listen to their newest single, Sapphire Eyes, below!

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9th Street swoons over The Head and the Heart

This past Friday night, The Shelters and The Head and the Heart hit 9th Street, blowing us all away and closing out this year’s Summerfest concert series. The weather was perfect and the crowd’s excitement was more than apparent. The Shelters were first to take the stage, warming up the crowd with their upbeat brand of blues rock. They brought an almost tangible energy to the crowd that was sustained all night long, which is what we all look for in an opening act.

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Next up was The Head and the Heart. This band puts on an impressive performance no matter where they are, but they were without a doubt well suited for a 9th Street Summerfest show. Something about a cool breeze hitting your face right as band member Charity Rose Thielen’s melodic voice comes in on the second verse of “Let’s Be Still” gives you a rush of pure joy and content unlike anything else.

It was obvious that many of the concertgoers were big fans, singing along to every song and knowing every word. The band played a mixture of songs across all three albums, while leaning heavily on their most recent release “Signs of Light” and making sure to include crowd pleasers like “All We Ever Knew” and “Rhythm & Blues”.

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Based solely on crowd reaction, the highlight of the night was inarguably when the band played “Rivers and Roads” at the end of their incredible four-song encore. Many fans have an emotional connection to the song and its relatable lyrics about friendship and the changing phases of life. Crowd members put their arms around each other and belted the well-known lyrics bringing about a sense of camaraderie and connection among strangers that only good music can provide. This in addition to a consistently energetic and magical performance from the band made this show one of the best we’ve seen this year.


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Local Artist Spotlight: Blue Jay

It started at a pizza place.

Josh Deal, then the 18-year-old manager at Coach’s Pizza World in Mexico, Missouri, befriended a co-worker. Bradley Hutchinson was 14 at the time and didn’t know how to play the guitar. Josh did. What followed was a guitar lesson and friendship that would eventually result in the formation of folk-pop band, Blue Jay.

When The Havana Honeys, a folk band that Deal played banjo and sang in, were in need of a bass player, they brought Hutchinson in to fill the role. It was the first band Hutchinson had been part of that wrote and played their own music.

After The Havana Honeys split, Deal and Hutchinson remained as co-workers at a local sub shop. After finding a common love for The Avett Brothers and The Beatles, they decided to try and make music as a duo — but found little success.

“We tried at one point to do the whole guitar and banjo thing, and it was awful. It just didn’t work out,” Hutchinson said.

That all changed when Deal heard “You”, a song that Hutchinson had written. Deal decided then that they should pursue the project now known as Blue Jay. The two sat down and reworked the structure of the song to fit the mold of what they wanted from their band. “You” served as the rebirth of a project that Deal thought was history.

“It just seemed like something clicked that time around,” Deal said.

The duo’s one-year anniversary is quickly approaching, and Blue Jay is aiming to release their debut album in early 2018. The band released their second single from the upcoming record on Friday.

“It’s a song about being in love with someone for quite some time, and being able to look back at all the chapters of the relationship that you have been through together. Being thankful for every passing moment and not wanting to ever see any of that go away,” Deal said.

The album will be produced by Kevin Gates, a local producer out of Springfield. Gates has also worked with one of Hutchinson’s biggest influences — Joplin-based band Never Shout Never.

“My buddy told me he produced their album and then showed me one of their recordings, and it was so good that I couldn’t justify not recording with him,” Hutchinson said.

For Hutchinson, it turned out to be the perfect artist-producer relationship.

“Kevin knows exactly what he’s doing with each song. It just hits him and he goes – nonstop,” Hutchinson said.

One track on the record that sticks out for both Hutchinson and Deal is “North Carolina”.

“At our live shows, I like it to be the second to last song. My favorite part of the night is connecting with the people in the audience. I try to get people nice and close with that song, because I want them to listen to the words. It has a good meaning and there’s something that people can learn from it, especially when you’re young and going out a lot,” Hutchinson said.

The first priority for Blue Jay is to finish writing and recording the album. The second is to eventually distribute the record in physical form with a full package of artwork and lyric sheets.

“I would really like to print this album on vinyl. I want to have a really artistic album – like holding a piece of art in your hands,” Hutchinson said.

Follow Blue Jay on Twitter and like them on Facebook for the latest news on the upcoming album!