In June 2005, The Rusticators' song JOURNEY TO WAR was selected and featured on NPR's website, All Songs Considered - Open Mic.
The Rusticators are Abbey Linfert on vocals
and Chris Amsler on vocals and instruments. Since they are a duo, they have a
spare sound, with their vocals backed only by acoustic guitar and understated
electric guitar and piano on some tracks. An occasional guest artist appears
The songs and vocals are the focus of this folk-based group. Nearly all of the former are harmonized (Pam Russell is a backup vocalist on two of the tracks). This is the type of music you would expect to hear in a coffeehouse, although the songwriting is generally better. The duo wrote all of the thirteen tracks themselves, either together or separately.
The titles reveal some of the subjects of the songs, for example, “Love Covers Over Me” and “Journey to War”. Most are love songs, although some are complex, as these lyrics from the title track show: “Inside my room/You whisper in my head…talking with the dead/And I want you to stay.” The careful construction of the songs and Amsler's pristine production makes this a CD both for relaxing and thinking about.
With "Talking with the Dead", this folk duo composed of Chris Amsler
and Abbey Linfert create a retro stew that has enough modern Americana
ingredients to seriously spice up the dish. You can feel the effects of the
Carpenters or the Mamas and the Poppas, but also Sarah Vaughan and Rodney
Crowell. The vocal feelings range from haunting to impassioned, joyful to
sorrowful, emulating the topical lyrical subjects. The acoustic backdrop is
superb and embellishing.
Mark E. Waterbury, Music Morsels, USA
If original music is your thing, then you can't
get much more original than The Rusticators duo Chris Amsler and Abbey Linfert
in their album, Talking with the Dead. When these two talents teamed up in 2001,
a unique blend of folk, pop, alternative, acoustic music was born.
Abbey Linfert has a wonderfully melodious voice that carries into the harmonies. Chris Amsler is no joke himself, his voice is well trained and can be clear when he wants or he can add a bit of twang. The two sing a great little duet, "Love Covers Over Me". Their voices travel into one another's without running over each other. The transition from one lead to another is beautifully seamless and their harmonies are well matched.
Their vocals along with Chris's instrument playing bring an almost spiritual sound to the thoughtful lyrics. There is an especially delightful albeit extremely short piano solo in the fast-tempo, slightly morbid yet very catchy, up beat title song, "Talking with the Dead". The rest of the songs on the Rusticators' CD are played at a slower pace. It's just as well as it gives you time to ingest the lyrics. If you pay attention, you realize that as calming and serene as this album is, the songs are all a tad twisted and tinged with cruel reality.
"Journey to War" and "Wicked Ways" explore the evils that have flourished on earth. "God Bless Nothing" by far is the most cynical song while "Son of Mine" is the most saddening. It's a little bit strange that the most optimistic and hopeful songs are "Big Blue Sky" and "Silver Toes", both about death. It's appropriate though. The intention of the album isn't to depress or make you detest this evil-ridden world. The intention is to simply present the world in as honest a picture as possible. The Rusticators have got it right. The world, taken from the headlines and street gossip, sounds a bit dismal. But listen closer and in the background there's serene, even enchanting, music playing. Talking with the Dead is a unique album that will hypnotize you with its lyrics and originality.
Rikk Matheson, Rikk's Revues , USA
And now, for something completely different. The Rusticators are a duo
(Abbey Linfert and Chris Amsler) out of Virginia who play brilliant post-Indigo
Girls modern American folk-rock with perfect harmonies, great instrumentation,
and catchy arrangements. "Talking With The Dead", their latest,
is a damned impressive collection of original songs, and shows us that
songwriting is NOT dead in this country. This CD is a treasure for those
who enjoy folky-rock. All others may think they'll be bored with it.
If you're of the latter, however, then I'm sorry for you, because this is truly
great music. This is stirring, melodic music that's a great soundtrack for
a summer day, and I recommend this to anyone who likes good music of any genre.
Open your minds, you damn metal-punk-alternative-whatever heads, and give this a
shot. The Heathen Hippy gives it four and a half acoustic strums.
Taliesin Govannon, Utter Trash, Ohio, USA
The Rusticators music pours over you like a warm river, all
sweet vocals and simple melodies. Sort of folk with lashings of pop. Abbey
Linfert and Chris Amsler offer solid and strong songs on this second album.
"Journey to War" paints an understandably dark picture of a conflict.
Amsler sings it so softly you barely know its subject unless you listen closely.
Maybe he's making his point by not raging, it's like he wants our full attention
for this tale.
"Wicked Ways" is a sinuous groove for Linfert to weave her magic across. She sings from the point of view of an envious woman to her rival.
Amsler's being evocative on "Jersey Street" painting images of a town to a soft backing. The jaunty title track speaks of encountering the dead with a sensuous undertone. Linfert sighs "You can be Bogart But I'm stuck being me". Not your everyday lyrical concern, and if you don't pay attention it passes you by. Rusticators make a point of being subtle and that goes a long way.
Anna Maria Stjärnell, Luna Kafe, Norway
Copyright © 2005
Based in Virginia, The Rusticators are a male and female duo that play
original Folk music. Regularly gigging throughout the United States, Abbey
Linfert and Chris Amsler met four years ago and have been creating music as a
team ever since. The pair’s latest release “Talking With The Dead” is a
collection of acoustic based music played with passion and charm. The
Rusticators have a dual harmonic sound that is warm and sincere, lending their
music a sense of honesty rarely found in today’s music world. Most tracks on
“Talking With The Dead” tell a story using descriptive lyrics and emotion.
The subject matter ranges from the loss of a friend (Silver Toes), to special
memories (Jersey Street) and love (I’m With You) and will have you reaching
for the lyric sheet. The variety of tones and subject matter on “Talking With
The Dead” changes from track to track and creates worthwhile listening from
start to finish. The combination of beautiful harmonies, intelligent lyrics and
peaceful grooves makes “Talking With The Dead” a winner.
Jeff Lease, The Buzz, Australia
The Rusticators is the duo of Christian Devin Amsler and Abbey
Linfert, and this Talking with the Dead CD is a work that focuses on
evil, doing so with the primary emotion of sadness. For instance, there’s a
song here called “Wicked Ways,” and another one titled “I’m With You,”
which contains the line, “This wicked world’s ways.” Then on the title
track, the lyric once again refers to wicked ways. Yep, there’s a whole lot of
wickedness going on around here.
Ironically, the happiest sounding song on the whole work is the title track. Although Christian Devin Amsler also sings here, the music is mainly built around Linfert’s attractive voice. Linfert’s singing has a Carole King-like feel on “Love Covers Over Me,” and the instrumentation of this release many times references King’s 70s soft rock heyday. One of the disc’s best moments arrives with “Big Blue Sky” because of its gentle guitar picking, duet vocals and tambourine. Another highlight is “Jersey Street,” due to its jangle-y rock.
Next to its sadness vibe, anger is second most referenced emotional key of this work. That emotion is exemplified by “God Bless Nothing,” which sounds like a hate letter to God. “Ragged Head,” speaking of rage, angrily includes the telling line, “Now I know what alcohol is for.”
With Talking with the Dead, The Rusticators sadly and angrily explore this wicked little world of ours. It may not be a pretty picture, but it’s nevertheless a true one.
Dan MacIntosh, Indie-Music.com, Indiana, USA
Politically toned pop rock that
casts aside notions of simple themes for bigger, better, and gratuitous lyrics
that are not just well sung but extraordinarily cerebral. But getting people
talking about the issues and stories and tales that are weaved in and around
"Talking with the Dead" isn't the only subject worthy; the music
itself is very compelling. The bouncing between female and male vocals is nifty
and offers more transcendental reflections. It's not often that independent
music by a duo gets you thinking about all sorts of things so when it comes
around you've got to really hang on and pay full attention.
EDITOR, www.smother.net, Virginia, USA
The sound of the Rusticators is an eclectic combination of many genres from pop to traditional, but the result can best be described as "great." The lyrics are well written and on most tracks are messages to anyone living in the modern world.
This CD of 13 tracks -- it's amazing how many albums have that superstitious
number of songs -- is a brilliant showcase of this talented duo of Chris Amsler
and Abbey Linfert, with all the numbers coming from the performers, jointly or
as solo writers. One of my favourite songs, "Journey to War," is an beautiful
evocation of how the wars we see so blandly on TV impact the participants. It
reminds us that the casualty, physical or emotional, from either side is a human
being just like you or me. "Wicked Ways" is a fascinating song about unfaithfulness and
betrayal. The power of words is evident on "Jersey Street." You can
visualise the scene, feel the heat and tension of meeting and the joy of
companionship. The title track, "Talking with the Dead," is a strangely upbeat
song. On first hearing I thought it was a modern take on "The Lover's
Ghost," but then I wondered if the person is dead or just gone. It
certainly bears close attention and is a very melodious track. The ambiguity
continues into "Son of Mine." It sounds like a letter from the
afterlife to a child from departed parents, but it is far from maudlin. Then
again, is it a father who simply deserted the child? The magic is that you do
not know. On the final track, "Silver Toes," we are not in such doubt. This
song is dedicated to Paul Olsen and, with lines like "We miss you down
here, wisecracks and the kindest heart, you still make us smile," it
certainly sounds like a tribute to a lost friend who has gone to better things.
The entire album is a joy to hear. The lyrics, production and performances
are top class and deserve to be heard by a wide audience.
Nicky Rossiter, Rambles, Ireland
Nice harmonies and good songwriting with a twang. The lyrics on "God Bless Nothing" are heartfelt and powerful. The lyrics on Ragged Head are so descriptive and sad. They're a talented group, there's no doubt about that.
Amy Lotsberg, Collected Sounds, Minnesota, USA
I now take the chance to thank you so much for sending "Talking with the Dead" to me. You now have a well definite style blending different influences such like folk, pop and country. Also the two voices sound mature and sensual and the songs are particularly catchy and fresh so that they come very easy on the ear. I already played some tracks from "Talking With The Dead" in my radio programme of American folk and roots music here, but I enjoy so much that work that I think something else will be on air soon.
Massimo Ferro, DJ for Highway 61, Italy
We always enjoy listening to new music in the mornings and your collection of Americana sounds were a perfect compliment to our tastes in music....I absolutely loved 'Silver Toes'. This song is a timeless representation of American ideas about life and thereafter. It is upbeat and sweet which draws the listener in. The sounds are both rich and enchanting. Very cool. I also enjoyed the keys injected 'Talking with the Dead'. With vocals reminiscent of the Indigo Girls and the jamming that ensues with the various instruments, a true good time has been created! Thanks for the treats for my ears. I greatly, greatly appreciate the tunes!
Shut Eye Records & Agency
with the Dead"
$10 ~ ORDER TODAY
of RUSTICATORS' AIRPLAY
AROUND THE GLOBE
THANKS to the DJs and stations who are supporting The Rusticators'
musical efforts by playing our music!
IN NORTH AMERICA
CFBX, Kamloops, B.C., Canada
CJLX Sunday Coffee House,Belleville, Ontario, Canada
CKCU, Window of Opportunity, Kanata, ON, Canada
CKLN, Acoustic Routes, Toronto, ON, Canada
KAXE, Grand Rapids, MN
KCLA/KLAS, 30 Minutes of Black, Los Angeles, CA
KEDM, AmericanaRama, Monroe, LA
KEOS, Hickory Wind, College Station, TX
KDVS, The Saturday Morning Folk Show, Davis CA
KKUP, New Wood, Santa Clara, CA
KKUP, Friday Folk-Off, Santa Clara, CA
KMUD, Wild River Folk, Redway, CA
KMXT, Acoustic Music Hour, Kodiak, AK
KPFT Roark in the Afternoon, Houston, TX
KPRG, Folk Wave, Mangilao, Guam
KSMU, Moraga, CA
KSUA, Talkeentna, AK
KTEP, Folk Fury, El Paso, TX
KUAC, Fairbanks, AK
KUMD, Duluth, MN
KUNV Women's Voices, Las Vegas, Nevada
KUSP, Dreaming of Babylon, Santa Cruz, CA
KZFR, The Lonely & The Damned, Chico, CA
M4Radio, Kissimee, FL
Penguin Radio, San Rafael, CA
Twangcast.com, Fredericksburg, VA
Utah Public Radio, Fresh Folk, Logan UT
WBGU, The Folk Music Show, Bowling Green, OH
WBRS, Waltham, MA
WBRS, Phat Pholk, Waltham, MA
WCVF, General Eclectic, Fredonia, NY
WDBX, T.G.I.Folk, Carbondale, IL
WDIY, Meanderings with Truman Ingalsbe, Allentown, PA
WFDU, Traditions & Tabletalk, Teaneck, NJ
WIAA, Interlochen, MI
WICN, Contemporary Café, Worcester, MA
WJUL, Almost Acoustic, Lowell, MA
WMUC, Roots & Wings, College Park, MD
WSIU, On the Edge, Carbondale, IL
WUWG, Appalachian Trail - Vaguely Folk Music Show, Carrollton, GA
WXXE, Radio Liberation Front, Syracuse, NY
WZBC, Sunday Morning Country, Boston, MA
Radio Milo, Somewhere Between. Leopoldsburg, Belgium
Planete Indie, Etalle, Belgium
BCB Radio, West Yorkshire, England
Fenland Studios, Lincolnshire, England
Radio Lynn, FOLKUS, Norfolk, England
Folks & Roots, Lahiradio, Helsinki, Finland
Folk & Country Corner, Germany
The Folkladen, Radio Neckarburg, Mariazell, Germany
WWCM, World Wide Country Music, Europe Internet
Clanrye Radio, Newry, County Down, Ireland
Sounds from the New West, FreeRadio, Waterford, Ireland
The Jolly Roger, Waterford, Ireland
Radio Voce Spazio, American Folk & Roots, Alessandria, Italy
Alt Country Cookin' , Radio Winschoten, The Netherlands
Crossroads, The Netherlands
Folk Roots, The Netherlands
Radio Fedra, Serbia & Montenegro
La Otra Musica, Cadiz, Spain
IN AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Acoustic Music, Moruya Heads, Australia
Blue Country, Logan City, Queensland, Australia
Come All Ye, Bathurst, Austraia
Focus on Folk, Sydney South, Australia
Only Folking, Subiaco, W. Australia
Plains FM, Christchurch, New Zealand
The Folk Show, 5UV Radio, Adelaide, S. Australia
Town & Country, New Zealand, Belmont, New Zealand
Please put "AIRPLAY" in the subject. Your help is appreciated.