For every band that makes it big, there are countless others that — though they may be just as musically talented — never quite break out.
And as a member of State College-based roots rock band The Rustlanders until about 2011, Chris Rattie lived through the ups and downs of the rock and roll business. The Rustlanders were in the process of recording their second album with Grammy-winning producer Don Was in LA’s famed East/West studios — but the record never saw the light of day, and the Rustlanders went their separate ways.
“It’s the same old story that happens to thousands of bands — through bad dealings, bad deals, mismanagement, the record basically got shelved,” Rattie said in a recent telephone interview. “At some point I may go back and revisit some of the songs I wrote for that album, but right now I’m just looking forward and wanting to create new things.”
Looking forward and moving forward is exactly what Chris Rattie & The Brush Valley Rumblers are concentrating on as their tour — in support of Rattie’s debut album All These Things – stops at the Abbey Bar this Friday night.
“It’s good to be back touring, especially after the long break I took after the Rustlanders,” Rattie added. “We are just a new band so we are trying to get started and feel our way here. Right now, it’s just ‘let’s concentrate on Pennsylvania and just branch out from there’ and that’s kind of the plan.”
All These Things was written and recorded in central Pennsylvania mostly with Chris and his brother John (also the organ/electric piano player in the Brush Valley Rumblers) playing most of the instruments on the album.
“That was fun for me to do — having recorded a lot in a band situation, which is great too – but I really needed a chance to take creative control of everything for this particular set of songs,” Rattie said. “I started writing some songs and recording them on my own and then I brought my brother in to help out with production and engineering and to try to get a little more of a live feel on the record with us playing together.
The album, which is available on iTunes, is full of catchy blues/folk rock leaning songs with that will definitely keep your foot tapping — but the two that Rattie points to that are most representative of the band are “So Long” and “Burn Em Down.”
“I listen to a lot of different things — more and more I’ve been buying old records and listening to really old folk music and old time blues,” Rattie said. “I throw it all in a blender and there’s no question you’ll be stealing from someone — but you just have to steal it and disguise it and make it your own.
Rattie is also staying busy playing a number of acoustic dates with guitarist Ryan Alford – one upcoming date is a free show at Suba (upstairs at Mangia Qui) on North Street in Harrisburg on Friday, April 4 at 9 p.m.
“I think a good song is a good song — you can play it with a full band or by yourself,” Rattie said. “It’s fun to do some acoustic shows and strip the songs down a little bit and approach it from a different way.”
Binghamton rockers Driftwood will open the show Friday night at the Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing Company. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are available online for $5 and will be available at the door for $7.
For more information about Chris Rattie and the Brush Valley Rumblers, visit www.chrisrattie.com.