- An Interview with Dusty The Kid Jammerzine Exclusive 24:26
Days of Love and Rage is a righteous debut album coming from Western Montana’s renaissance man/folk singer, Dusty the Kid. This album is a relevant and timely callback to the protest roots of folk music; championing the underdogs, the workers, and subjugated while condemning those who would take advantage of their fellow human beings.
Musically, Dusty the Kid draws on nearly the entirety of the western folk tradition. Days of Love and Rage moves seamlessly from English, Irish, and Welsh roots, calling forth the spirit of labor crusaders Woody Guthrie and Pete Segar, and Greenwich Village folk revivalists in the beat era. The Kid even throws in some folk-punk for good measure.
A multi-instrumentalist, actor, and playwright, Dusty the Kid infuses these songs with drama and story. Recorded using live takes by producer Quint Bishop, Days of Love and Rage features Dusty the Kid’s backing band members, “Bucky Eyed” Geoff Taylor (Fiddle) and Stovepipe Rides Again (Bass) who together form Recession Special.
Beginning with “Down the Road,” the theatrical nature of this project is immediately apparent. Many of these tracks have sound clips as their opener. “You’re tuned in to ACAB radio” is a strong indicator of where this album is headed. It highlights both the musical and political elements of the band.
“Raise the Banner” is another highly political and revolutionary piece. It starts with newer sound clips: Covid, politicians’ stances on socialism, anarchism, and radical left. /We don’t have to keep on dyin’/ for the rich man’s mistakes…/Let the day be today/ Dusty sings his rallying cry of unity as he evokes blag flags and shackles.
“Mill town Blues” takes a different vibe. Still political, though less overt…at first. It’s a slow lament; an ode to the death of an old mill town. /If I had my way, oh to dream/I would waltz on down to the company store/ I’d buy bullets and gasoline/. Okay so it’s still overt, but it’s also pretty. Pretty badass. Delicate banjo plucking and soulful fiddle highlights in this piece as the Kid asks the company men: /Can you see those flames in the dark? “Bethlehem Steel” is another stop on Dusty the Kid’s Americana road trip. It’s a guitar and fiddle-driven tune about “the little town of Bethlehem PA.” The specificity in the lyrics gives them depth and character as they describe how much of America’s infrastructure is hard Bethlehem steel.
‘Days of Love & Rage’ is my attempt to share not only the stories of the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met, but also to share a feeling of hope. Hope in change, hope in resilience, hope in knowing that there’s a whole lot of struggle going on all over the place and that means you’re never alone in yours, be it political or mental or emotional or whatever. Most of these songs were written over the spring and summer of 2020. That meant losing our jobs, losing our gigs, trying to get by on stimulus checks, facing off against right wing militias at protests. I, and I think all of us, really needed some reassurance and some strength, and I found it in looking at the struggle of those who came before us who were fighting for the same things we still fight for.Dusty The Kid
Moving solidly into Simon and Garfunkel territory, “Border of Dakota” is a straight-up Irish ballad, but don’t be surprised if you detect hints of “The Boxer.” It features a delicately plucked guitar and tender fiddle. ”Savory, Sage, & Cyprus” is the band’s pro choice anthem in the form of a slow and melancholic lament. “Sea Song” stands out in that it’s less a shanty than a pop song that wound’t sound out of place at all as part of the 2010s folk revival. If you’re up for a little history lesson, “The Ballad of Frank Little” tells the story of the eponymous unionist and folk hero.
Closing out the album is “Bound for Glory.” Recession Special shines in this one with gorgeous swelling strings perfectly highlighting the loss and hope running through the album’s finale. As singer and frontman Dusty the Kid brings his musicianship, powerful vocals, and politically infused lyrics to every track of Days of Love and Rage. Drawing from the vast history of folk music, it’s clear he’s using his art as a platform to keep the revolutionary spirit alive.
Featured image by Nathan Snow.