The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself

—William Faulkner
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In their debut full-length album, The Birth of Birds, the Ruralists take Luke Hawley’s simple folk shuffles and, using all the instruments in their machine shed, run them against the grain. Howling electric guitars create a lush landscape of sound, sharp strokes over the fundamental and foundational rhythm section. Splashes of color like basement brass, the odd accordion, and a century-old pipe organ brighten the corners. And at the center of this curious carousel, Hawley’s songs of loving, longing, leaving, and coming back again, the fight for fidelity, grabbing and grappling at the impermanent, the interlocular, the veiny and visceral mess of the here and now stacked against the dream and desire of better days ahead. The songs are melodic, even down to the drums, hooks hooked with hooks, like the old barrel-of-monkeys game. They’re narrative both in lyric and music, dynamic and surprising, at times bombastic, at times almost uncomfortably intimate.

Don’t fly over these songs. Invite them to Sunday dinner, push back from the table and listen. You’ll find yourself in it, humming quietly along with the themes and variations on the heart in conflict. And don’t worry about it, the band will do the dishes.

The Ruralists

 

True believers in Dave Kramer's ruralist platform know that art and beauty can be found hidden in the back of any old garage. One late summer evening, five guys hoisted a broken-spring garage door and gathered together rusted gas tanks and ancient oil pans, barn wood and bailing wire, all the best bits of whatever sound and strain they could uncover or acquire, constructing something stratified and sound, a mellifluous mouthful of sharp and shiny teeth, nuanced and narrative, northwest of nowhere, seeded in the silvery soil of soybeans and cornstalks, flavored by the very salt of the earth.

Also: guitars.

 

Vocals, Guitar / Luke Hawley

Electric Guitar / Ben Lappenga

Electric Guitar / Laremy De Vries

Bass / Jake Miller

Drums / Titus Landegent

 

 
The city, of course, is a thing of the past. There was a time during the middle ages when it was the only source of culture. There was no way of acquiring this thing we call culture except by direct contact, see.

—Frank Lloyd Wright
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Shows

 
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Guitar driven … an incredibly powerful sound to back up The Ruralists’ poignant and personal lyrics. … wonderfully written songs … a powerful set and performed as a cohesive unit.

– Sioux City Weekender
At the center of all this—the swelling noise, the sweaty crowd—is the band’s anchor and heart … songs deeply shaped by a storyteller’s sensibility.

– The Voice
Norman Rockwell meets Nirvana.

— Dave Kramer
Pulled me out of my funk.

— Andy Roetman
A helluva surprise.

— Ron Suir, Anthem

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