“Rusty Bladen is a familiar one to anyone who has spent any amount of time in the live music establishments of Indianapolis. It’s for good reason that he’s one of the most popular live acts: Audiences love him.” — NUVO
Rusty Bladen songs tell stories about living life in the heartland. That makes them about your life too. — Roots Rock News
The guarantee between Rusty Bladen and his audience is this: if you take the time to come out for a show, you’ll sing, might get up to dance, and come away from it all pretty darn happy. Rusty’s been on the road, playing throughout Indiana for 30 years because there was never really a doubt that Bladen would make music his job – and life. Nine albums and 5,000 shows in his back pocket make him truly one of the road warriors of Indiana’s music fraternity.
Sure, he worked a couple jobs to support himself just after high school – a stint at the Madison State Hospital was one – but it didn’t take long to find his way a stage. His guitar lessons as a 10-year old laid the groundwork. Memorizing the Neil Young songbook gave him a start. His frontman chops were honed by five years as the lead singer for a turn-it-up-six-nights-a-week Indiana hard rock/Top 40 band (Aura) in the 80s.
Thirty years after diving in, his original music, every-night-a-good time live show, and the pile of encyclopedic rock and roll and country history he can play have made Rusty one of the artists that can be counted on to make a performance also a party.
Rusty’s solo show is a high energy, freewheeling tour-de-force of Bladen originals, songs from the radio, and some excellent hippie country-rock tunes. The band show is an exhibition of what five guys holding onto the same roots rock and roll rope can pull an audience into. The band shows are fun, rockin’ and loud. The solo shows are fun, rockin’ and almost as loud. A veteran of the Indiana music scene, Bladen has played many of the clubs, theaters, bars and festivals in Indiana to build his career. Bladen powers the crowd at his shows with an atmosphere of party songs, sing-alongs and a whole lot of audience participation.
LATEST STUDIO ALBUM: Bladen recorded arguably his best album ever – a Midwesterner’s take on country and rock and roll. The mixing of Bladen’s writing (he penned all the songs) and sound with producer Thom Daugherty’s (former guitarist for The Band Perry and The Elms) gritty-but-sweet touch makes for a sound both familiar and original. Recorded in Indianapolis, the album, in addition to Bladen’s acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals, features Daugherty on electric guitar and former Elms member Chris Thomas on drums. The organ was recorded in a southside Indianapolis church. John McDowell, one of the original members of the band The Wright Brothers, contributes background vocals.
LATEST LIVE ALBUM: The complete audio from Rusty’s concert at the historic Scott Theatre in Scottsburg, Indiana was mixed and released as a digital-only album available on iTunes as he took his full band to the venue for an 18-song show, including favorites like “Uppacrick”, “Smoke Like a Train”, “Ride That River”, and “Are You Happy Now?” The band ripped through the songs in front of an appreciative audience, and the video recorded that night was originally seen on YouTube, which caused fans to beg for a live album version. It is the complete show, recorded live. It is what Rusty Bladen does best: homegrown American rock and roll.
HOLIDAY ALBUM: With Feels Like Christmas , Rusty recruited Dane Clark (John Mellencamp’s drummer) to produce and play on it. It is holiday classics that rock; favorites (and the newly-penned title track) in a stew of rootsy, snarling, homegrown rock and roll.The album was mixed by the legendary Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams).
DISCOGRAPHY: Listen and/or purchase here
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: With nine original CD’s, Bladen ranks as one of the best-selling independent artists in the state….song “Ride That River” used in the MGM motion picture “Madison”…worked extensively with members of John Mellencamp’s band on three of his albums…has played major venues that include Klipsch Music Center and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway…has appeared live on more than 30 radio and television stations in the Midwest.
“Rusty Bladen is an indispensable part of the Muscatatuck River Music Festival.His fans have an expectation that he will put on an exciting, high energy show, and he never fails to deliver. He wins over fans who have primarily come to see others.
Hugh Partridge, Promoter
Muscatatuck River Music Festival
“My bar was rockin’ like it has rarely rocked before! Rusty Bladen has so much energy we had to put in a new breaker system just for him. He’s fun, talented, and really works the room. Call the paramedics because he knocks the crowd dead. I partied so hard I’m still taking aspirin. I can’t wait to see him again.”
Jimmy “Mad Dog” Matis
owner of Longacre Bar & Grill
FROM EVANSVILLE COURIER:
“Rusty Bladen is coming off a home-turf gig with his band at the Madison Regatta before a wild riverfront crowd of 3,000. Bladen emerges from behind a large black, logo-emblazoned backdrop, grinning and pounding a foot on the stage…”