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The Upbeat: The Rusty Wright Band

of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Formed: 2004 in Flint

Sound: Blues

Members: Rusty Wright — guitar and vocals (Davison); Laurie Lacrosse-White — guitar and vocals (Davison); Dave Brahce — keyboards and guitar (Perry); Andy Baranick — bass (Fenton); Pete Haist — drums and vocals (Fenton).

Influences: Howlin’ Wolf, Leadbelly, Hubert Sumlin, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, gospel.

Day Jobs: The Wrights are full-time musicians and run their own record label, Sad Son Music, out of their home in Davison. Brahce is an IT specialist. Baranick and Haist are independent commercial painters and contractors, while Baranick is also a youth pastor at his father’s church in Fenton.

Gettin’ The Blues: Rusty Wright started his professional playing life in rock, including a stint with the Metallica tribute band Damage Inc. “Playing rock was the cool thing,” he says, “plus, to be honest, it was where the money was. But I’ve always had a heavy blues influence; a lot of times the guys I’d be with would be like, ‘Man, that’s too blues what you’re playing.’ I used to joke that some day I was going to go back and play the blues till I die ... My wife and I started this band in 2004, and our second gig was opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd. No pressure, right?”

Globetrotting: Wright and company have taken their blues around the country and around the world, including to Europe, Japan and South Korean. “They love it more than the Americans do now,” Wright says of the overseas audiences. “They’re rabid about American music. They don’t have all the distractions that people have here now — high-speed Internet, video games, the big malls and all that stuff are not so prevalent over there. A lot of their big release, artistically, is concerts and music, so they’re rabid music fans like the way we used to be back in the ’70s.”

Hear ’em: The RWB has released two albums, “Ain’t No Good Life” in 2006 and “Playin’ With Fire” in 2009. The group plans to release a third this year.

See ’em: The RWB performs Saturday, Jan. 22, at Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance, $8 at the door, and proceeds will help fund the RWB’s trip to the International Blues Challenge next month in Memphis. The show also will be recorded. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Surf ’em: www.rustrywrightband.com.

Web Site: www.rustywrightband.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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