The first time I heard a vehicle described as “Slightly Stolen” by the driver, it was reported VERY stolen the next day by the owner, and it didn’t end well. The term lends itself to the outlaw country vibe of Dusty Rust, leaving the listener with the classic “Will he or won’t he be caught” feeling. A couple songs into Stolen Horse I had a pretty good idea the whole record was going to be a something I’d enjoy, but when I got to the harmonica and keys of “Arizona” I knew I was sold. As I continued, the suspense never ended and Dusty Rust locked himself into the top spot on my Best of 2018 list so-far.
Due to the subject matter, I want to call this an outlaw country record, but it’s so much more than that with its varied vocals and strong, sometimes haunting, instrumentals. You’re treated to western vibes, dark topics, at-times deep gospel-sounded vocals, and I can’t remember the last time I heard so many different instruments played so well together on a country album.
I can’t say enough good things about this album. From the slow intro of “No One to Blame” to the low outro of the steel-heavy and aptly named “It’s Over”, this album is an impressive collage of vocals and seemingly every instrument in the recording studio. With so much going on, it would be easy for something (Or many things) to get lost in the shuffle, but this album is so well put together that it all just works.
If she held that gun to my head, I’d probably choose “Hell On Fire” as my favorite on this impressive album. I’m a sucker for a well told Bonnie & Clyde type story, but this one has a bit of a twist that makes it so much better. “The lady I love is Hell on fire and the worlds about to burn”, what a line.
I did a lot of driving this past weekend, and Dusty spent a lot of time on my radio. I listened to both of his previous albums, and while I enjoyed them, the production (Particularly vocal vs. instrumental levels) is on the next level with Stolen Horse. Each of his albums does share the same strong and varied instrumentals, but on Stolen Horse Dusty allowed his vocals to stretch out a bit, and the result is an album that I think should resonate with many different types of country fans.
I’d like to thank Porter Union for sharing Dusty’s record on social media, I’m embarrassed that I had missed him till now, and am going to go ahead and resign myself to spreading the love for this guy. A quick look at Spotify says he is not getting anywhere near the spins he deserves, and I highly suggest you go check him out.
Stolen Horse was released January 19th, and is currently available to download HERE and physical purchase HERE.