Rusty Bladen | For the Better

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Country: Americana Rock: Americana Moods: Solo Male Artist
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For the Better

by Rusty Bladen

A slice of turned-up-loud Americana. A Tom Petty and Mellencamp-esque piece of American rock.
Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. For the Better
3:35 $0.99
2. Brand New Bridge
3:10 $0.99
3. Broken Heart Crippled Mind
3:24 $0.99
4. Best Kept Secret
3:22 $0.99
5. Where Did I Go Wrong?
3:10 $0.99
6. Warm Cup of Coffee
3:53 $0.99
7. The Lucky One
4:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
a slice turned-up-loud Americana, generated and filtered through the musical perspective of a longtime Indiana musician with a family and more than 20 years on the road.

Think a Tom Petty and Mellencamp-esque piece of American rock.

For the Better is Rusty’s eighth album on his own River Road Records label, and with it, Bladen has recorded arguably his best album ever – a Midwesterner’s take on country and rock and roll. The mixing of Bladen’s Hoosier twang with producer Thom Daugherty’s (former guitarist for The Band Perry and The Elms) gritty-but-sweet musical touch makes for a sound both familiar and original.

Daugherty’s guitars ring with open chords, homegrown heartland rock, and hints of a well-worn spirituality, as does Bladen and Daugherty adding a gospel organ - recorded in a church – to many of the songs.

Holed up in Daugherty’s Indianapolis studio in day-into-night sessions for the new record, Bladen’s acoustic guitar was the spine of the recording process, with Rusty cutting the songs first with his guitar, providing a familiar and confident base, earned from years making his pay from the stage.

That acoustic anchor makes sense considering the thousands of live shows Rusty has played, armed with a guitar, a homemade stomp box and harmonica.

It has been a road of slow success for Bladen, dating back to his debut album Are You Happy Now?, recorded in 1993 with famed Indianapolis producer Alan Johnson (Bob and Tom, Larry Crane). On his studio records, Rusty has previously leaned on members of John Mellencamp’s band - John E. Gee, Dane Clark and former member Moe Z. have all made appearances.

On the new record, Daugherty lends electric guitars to all the tracks, bringing a sound that’s thrilling and majestic, and dirty enough to be elegantly unruly. The guitarist shoots energy into songs.

Bladen and Daugherty also used Mike Petrow (he engineered Bladen’s 2006 Feels Like Christmas album) and his Greenwood home studio for parts of the new record. They also visited an Indianapolis church to get an authentic Hammond B3 organ sound.

Former Elms drummer Chris Thomas brought his cracking snare and push-it-louder sound to the album.

The record slowly became seven songs after it was clear in early discussions that keeping it a three or four-song EP wouldn’t be enough to tell a story.

Thematically, Bladen’s writing on the record moves from melancholy and desperation (“Broken Heart, Cripple Mind”) to frustration and anger (“Warm Cup of Coffee”) to shy regret (“Best Kept Secret” before finding out how one can find joy and lessons in the small moments of life (“The Lucky One” and “For The Better”)

Much of the album is about being able to look back and admit you might not always know everything – or anything – about why events occur. Ultimately, it is a record about faith.

It’s also the work of two musicians in Bladen and his producer Daugherty, who have molded a heartland sound that captures the idea of homegrown rock and roll, pumped up loud and countryfried.

Rusty Bladen Live:
Rusty’s solo show is a high energy, freewheeling tour-de-force of Bladen originals, songs from the radio, and some excellent hippie country-rock tunes. The band show is an exhibition of what five guys holding onto the same roots rock and roll rope can pull an audience into. The band shows are fun, rockin’ and loud. The solo shows are fun, rockin’ and almost as loud. See his show schedule at



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