Rustic Overtones formed in Portland, ME, hometown to each of them. Members of this seven-piece outfit are guitarist and lead vocalist Dave Gutter, drummer Tony McNaboe, trombonist Dave Noyes, baritone saxophonist Jason Ward, bassist Jon Roods, alto saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and Spencer Albee on keyboards and piano. Roods and Gutter began performing together first, in a family basement. They later added the rest of the group, all friends from high school, and became what is Rustic Overtones. Local gigs earned them a fan base that expanded as the band began to travel, appearing at close to 200 shows some years.
In 1998, the Rustic Overtones released their debut album, Rooms by the Hour, under the Ripchord Records indie label. That same year the group recorded an EP, My Dirt, and two other albums, Long Division and Shish Boom Bam. After leaving Ripchord, the group got the chance to do an album, 2001's Viva Nueva, for Tommy Boy. The Rustic Overtones managed to pull in some special guest artists to appear on this release, like Funkmaster Flex, vocalist Imogen Heap, and one extra special guest, David Bowie.
Following the commercial failure of its major-label album, Rustic Overtones broke up in 2002, after a three-hour farewell show at the State Theater in Portland. On July 27, 2007, the band reunited for another Portland performance, held on the roof of radio station WCYY before 6,000 fans below in Monument Square. The reunion continued with a new album, Light at the End, at first self-issued, but then released nationally by Velour Music Group on March 18, 2008. ~ Charlotte Dillon & William Ruhlmann