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Singer/songwriter Ruston Kelly moved to Nashville at the age of seventeen, and in 2013 landed a publishing deal with BMG Nashville. Having penned songs for artists like Tim McGraw and The Josh Abbott Band, Kelly all the while continued to craft his own material, releasing his debut EP Halloween in 2017, earning him praise from Rolling Stone, who described Kelly as a “scruffier-voiced Ryan Adams obsessed with both Merle and the Misfits.”

Ready to debut his forthcoming full-length album Dying Star, Kelly takes careful examination of his past, candidly recounting his history and triumph over drug addiction and the love that saved him along the way. Kelly co-produced Dying Star with Jarrad K (Kate Nash, Weezer), enlisting local musicians like singer/songwriter Natalie Hemby, Joy Williams (formerly of the Civil Wars), Kacey Musgraves (Kelly’s wife), and Abby Sevigny (Kelly’s sister) to bring the album’s gracefully melodic, guitar-driven arrangements to life. With each song centered on lucid self-examination, Kelly shapes his narrative with equal parts of confessionalism and punk-rock irreverence. “A lot of my music is focused on suffering, or trying to understand the human condition through the lens of suffering,” he says. “Which probably sounds totally depressing, but it’s actually the flipside of that. Sometimes you’ve gotta go into that darkness—you need to get lost and then figure out for yourself how to find your way back. That’s the only way we can find pure joy, and really be thankful for the life we’ve been given.”