Ruston Kelly writes and performs the kinds of songs that inspire novels and movies. You could call him a bastard disciple of Kurt Cobain and Townes Van Zandt, and he’d be totally cool with that.
He’s just as comfortable wearing a cowboy hat as he is in a Slayer t-shirt. His story so far twists and turns through heartbreak and triumph, an overdose and rehab, empty dive bars and packed venues, living everywhere from South Carolina to Brussels, and as he puts it, “finally getting my shit together and proposing to the love of my life.” It’s this unbelievable experience that informs his singular style—a gravelly patchwork of folk lyricism, grunge attitude, country heart, Americana spirit, and rock energy. Not only has he penned songs for Tim McGraw (“Nashville Without You”), Josh Abbott Band (“Front Row Seat”), and more, but his independent solo debut EP Halloween earned acclaim from KCRW, Consequence of Sound, RELIX, Apple Music, and more. “Poison” racked up over one million Spotify streams, while “Black Magic” soundtracked the Season Finale of the CBS series Scorpion. He logged countless miles on the road sharing the stage with the likes of The Lumineers and Robert Earl Keen in addition to performing at Bonnaroo and Wakarusa.