Ruston Kelly’s Father Tim Releases Debut Album “Ride Through the Rain”

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Ruston Kelly still vividly remembers hearing his father Tim sing and play for the family when he was younger. It had an impact that is felt all those years later when young Kelly is a working singer-songwriter with successful solo albums and tours under his belt.

“It’s the reason I even play music,” Ruston said during a Zoom call with his dad and Rolling Stone. “I will never forget hearing him play the song ‘Old Friends’. Hearing it sing in our living room when I was a kid, it’s like the whole world has gone dumb and I’ve just heard it. I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to do this. Whatever magic is, I want to do it. Teach me.'”

The melancholy “Old Friends”, which Tim wrote when he was 18, is one of the many highlights of his debut album. Riding in the rain. Lovingly produced by Ruston, it showcases Tim’s skills as a writer and singer, things he only hinted at when playing pedal steel on his son’s albums. Dying star and Shape and destroy.

With nine songs, Riding in the rain is easy listening for a fall afternoon. The songs are in no hurry, but they never go beyond their welcome. Tim, whom friends call “TK”, gives lucid accounts of his family in songs like “Better Man” and “Grandma’s House”, lost love in “Free” acoustics and an accurate description of reflection on a big life decision in “Leave This Town”.

The idea of ​​making big decisions in life is relevant to Tim, who, despite being an accomplished musician, once worked and raised his family instead of fully devoting himself to his performing ambitions. He does not regret having made this call. He can now observe his son’s flourishing career and explore his own muse in a non-do-or-die situation.

“I never thought I would sit in a recording studio with my own son and listen to him,” Tim says.

Riding in the rain has personal significance for both men, of course. Young Ruston may not have been the biggest critic of his father’s work, but now, as an adult who has gone through heavy hardships, including drug addiction, he is able to watch the work and consider it objectively good. Hearing these songs come to life in the studio, both old and new, put Ruston back in place of how he felt as a child, just hearing his father sing.

“I can put aside the fact that it’s my father doing something very amazing, but also realize that it’s something subjectively amazing that moves me as a human being,” he says. . “It’s the impulse of wanting to do this with him, is that it’s just fucking good.” This is a masterclass in writing classic songs.

Tim, Riding in the rain is your first official album. What happened to make you say “OK, now is the time, let’s go”?
TK: Well, we had the songs, finally. I had been working on the songs for a while. We just narrowed the list down at the last minute. Ruston always pestered me about this. He’s like, “You have to do this. Record these songs. And it turned out that due to the arrival of the pandemic and the touring halt, and Ruston was between album cycles, it turned out that all the stars lined up for the to do.

Ruston, what made you want to do this project?
RK: I just felt like the project was going to be a different kind of intimacy that would be difficult for someone who didn’t know what that intimacy entailed – that relationship between daddy and me is what really spawned this. concretization. It’s such a rare story in itself, like, when does that happen? Thinking of someone else coming the first time he made his debut album, I felt like I was supposed to do it, but I didn’t really let it be known. It just happened. He just asked me, “Why don’t you produce it? It was like, “Okay, that seems fair.” We’ve already built a creative relationship being on the road together, but to get in her lane and see what it is and be useful to her… A) I just felt like it was honoring all the help. that he brought me into my life and being on the road and supporting me and B) I just felt like I was the guy to do it for him.

Tim, it sounds like you were an active musician, but you made the choice at one point to have a day job. How did this reflection go for you?
TK: Having a day job was kind of a fallback for music. I never thought of anything other than that. I grew up with a guitar in my hand and have always played. I always felt like I was lucky enough to be able to play. I’ve always wanted to play music and thought that was where I was going. So the decision process was that my dad was a Depression Era guy, and having a job was everything for him. I went to college – I saw college as another thing I had to do to get a fallback position for music. And I played a lot of music when I was in college in Texas and had a lot of fun doing it. But eventually, I got married. I don’t know which was the strongest driver – wanting to please my dad or not having the self-confidence to move forward with the music. I thought I could possibly do it full time, but it just doesn’t work that way. I just got better and better at what I was doing. So the dream never faded but the responsibilities got to the point where I felt I had to serve my family and that is the choice I made. I do not regret it. It might not have been what it is today.

Is the song “Better Man” about your father?
TK: Yes. He was the example of the song, that’s for sure. He was a big influence on me and I always had a great relationship with my dad, maybe not so much as a teenager. One of the greatest values ​​I received from him was when it was just the two of us in his pickup and all I had to do was listen. He wasn’t a big talker, but he was like the old ad, “When EF Hutton talks, everyone listens.” It was him. If he said anything, it meant something. Otherwise, he probably wasn’t going to say it. I learned a lot from him and that’s what this song is really about. And then how much I’ve learned that it’s just as important and that you have a responsibility to pass these things on to your own children or to other people you spend time with in your life.

You wrote “Old Friends” when you were a teenager. What did this mean to you then, and how has it changed?
TK: Rusty and I talked about it quite a bit. Honestly, I think the conclusion we came to is like, it’s a lot more appropriate now than it was back then.
RK: [laughing] Yes.
TK: I wrote this song because I was in love with a girl and my family moved out during my senior year of high school. I left everything behind me that I thought I knew. That was the subject of this song at the time. And now that’s a whole different perspective on it. But I think he’s got a lot more weight now than he was then.

I hear a real sense of contentment in a lot of these songs. There are bittersweet components, but you seem satisfied. Can you talk about this?
TK: Ruston and I had a lot of talk about this in terms of choosing the songs for the recording, which is why there are only nine. [tracks]is that we were pretty deliberate about what happened there. It’s kind of a microcosm of what life is. Life, and the people you meet, the relationships you have, the ups and downs, all things. You remember the people who marked you, like my grandmother. But you also remember the relationship that at the time you thought it was life changing, and it was, but not in the way you thought it was then. And then you have the song like “Leave This Town,” which is really about making a big decision that you know is going to be life changing and realizing in the end that I wouldn’t trade that. I wouldn’t be where I am and I wouldn’t be there, so why can’t I be happy with where I am? This is actually how I feel.

It’s a very current album, but it doesn’t just sound like Tim singing on one of Ruston’s albums. Ruston, what did you want to do to bring these songs to life?
RK: It was my first step in producing a record that was just me as an executive producer. I knew dad is very practical. He can be very picky about sounds, even frequencies. So [the] Goal number one was to make the record that he and I were both extremely proud of which reflected the time we spent together which reflected the quality of the songs and bring it into a space that felt very much alive right now. , but it also looks very classic. To be able to put it in a bit of my world, but not so much that it takes away from these songs. These aren’t songs that need to be overproduced, they don’t need to be touched a lot. We just need the band to do the right things and get the right sounds on a few organic instruments. It was all an organic process and I wanted it to feel that way. I wanted it to be classic, but I didn’t want it to be a throwback.

What have you learned from each other as writers and musicians?
traditional knowledge: [chuckles]
RK: You can go ahead, take this one, daddy.
TK: What did I learn from Ruston?
RK: What did you learn from me, dad? [grinning wide]
TK: What I like about him, I mean, other than the fact that he’s my son and, yes, I could be biased, but I think he would tell you that I’m pretty objective when I’m evaluating things, whether it’s someone close to me or someone who isn’t. What I really appreciate about him is that he is willing to take risks. A lot of people find their groove or whatever they do and they’re happy with it and they don’t want to mess with it. Rusty is always willing to take a risk if he thinks it will serve the song and make it better. There were a few things I didn’t particularly think could be so good [Ruston laughs], but he said, “Trust me.” And it turned out he was right. I felt completely comfortable with him at the helm and me doing what I had to do, which was just focus on singing songs and that sort of thing. He clearly has the talent to do all of this. I’m just still in awe of his creativity, that’s the best way to put it.

Ruston, what’s next for you?
RK: I would like to see TK LP2 at some point. I try to get him to do instrumental tracks on steel at some point because if you notice it, steel isn’t even on this album. But there are a few projects. I will do [my] third record and part of my goal with this record with daddy was to make sure it wasn’t a legacy moment, that it was like, let’s get rich with the music community, something that you got always belonged.

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