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NWXSW - album by Rusty Reid
2001: NWXSW
Northern Latitudes Records
Copyright © Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Drifting in Los Angeles, bored and coasting in a dazzling position as a bigtime sports writer and editor, but distracted and disturbed by personal upheaval, a crisis of confidence about his music, and, um, other things, Rusty quit the average Joe's dream job, said goodbye to the City of Dreams and moved to the Puget Sound area in the summer of 1995. The plan was to tap into the realer, rawer energy of Seattle and allow the stunning awesomeness of the Pacific Northwest's nature to heal and nourish his psyche.

But in Seattle, reality forced a scramble just to make a living. It would take four years before Rusty could put together his first CD, to be titled, NWXSW.

NWXSW - album by Rusty Reid

"It was a play on SXSW (South by Southwest, the annual music conference in Austin)," Rusty explains, "but my personal journey has been from Southwest to Northwest. I didn't feel like I had strong enough material, audio quality wise, to release an album previously. But in 2000 I got a group of Tacoma guys together and recorded four songs, which I thought came out well, and provided a spark. Those four combined with four of the best sounding of some songs I had done in Houston, three other songs that Steve Beasley helped immensely with, and then a couple from my L.A. home studio added up to an album I could be more or less happy with. I couldn't afford to be too picky. I felt like time was running out. It was now or never. So I was set with that lineup of 13 songs when a final song came out of nowhere. That was We are the Barbarians. I hastily recorded that myself in my home studio in Washington, and it became the last song on the album. I was 48 at the time, and so I figured this might well be my one and only album."

NWXSW - album by Rusty Reid

The tracks are arranged in sort of chronological order, at least in terms of when they were written, the notable exception is Hurricane, a song written and originally recorded in Houston but re-recorded with the Tacoma crew. Also, Rusty was trying to go for a mood/feel that traversed from light/fun to dark/deep. "Basically, it's something of a 'best-of' sampler of my decently recorded material. So it's a hodgepodge. I do think this batch is some of my best songs, yet I knew the album didn't really hang together as a singular work stylistically or thematically."

The alternative was to create some sense of evolution of the music. So we go from the jangly frivolity of Hot as a Pistol and My Other Baby Will, to growing introspection through the midsection of the CD, and, finally, to keen social commentary in the final two songs, Where Do We Go From Now and Barbarians.

NWXSW - album by Rusty Reid

The album was released in June of 2001. It promptly went nowhere. Sales of the CD were dismal. A few songs off the album were played on European radio, but that was the extent of NWXSW's wider exposure. Then came 9/11.

"Following the terrorist attacks, I felt drained and depressed. This was added on top of the sour and dour feeling I already had from the 2000 presidential election and inauguration of George W. Bush. I just knew that guy would be a disaster for the country, and the world. Sure enough, he was asleep at the wheel while the terrorists plotted and then acted. Somehow he came out of looking like a hero, with a 90 percent approval rating across the country. What a crock!"

As the neocons schemed how they could parlay the tragedy into achievement of their long-held political goals (including taking over the oil fields of Iraq) and an angry and misguided wave of patriotism swept the country, one thing was certain: nobody was interested in listening to songs such as We Are the Barbarians.

NWXSW - album by Rusty Reid

Three and a half months later, Rusty's father would pass away, this following the death of his grandmother a year before. "All told it was a load of bricks," Rusty says. "I felt stunned, stymied. I just wanted to crawl into a hole. I dropped the ball on the album, never listed it on iTunes or Amazon, which were both newly minted online music sales venues. There was no Spotify or Pandora back then. I never even considered getting a band together to promote it, or even go out solo. It all just seemed useless, hopeless. I would be turning 50 soon. I had to face the facts. I had missed my shot."

Seventeen years on, NWXSW stands as remarkable "hodgepodge." The tunesmithing remains choice, the guitars still twanging, the pop songs are still sassy and fun, the New Wave influenced Houston songs remain lovably quirky, the wistful middle songs still deep and compelling, Earthquake City still ominously warning of the Big One (for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Earthquake Cities all around the Ring of Fire), Known You Twice still stands as one of Rusty's best love songs, Right Before Your Eyes reminding that most of us have everything we need to be happy, and the penetrating Where Do We Go From Now a blueprint for higher human evolution. As for Barbarians, it seems America has found a way to go from bad to worse. Although the song refers not specifically to America but to the worst of human culture in oppressing and assaulting each other and nature, Barbarians now has even more potency than originally with the rise of Trump, nationalism, xenophobia, gross materialism, insane disparity of wealth, and continuing ignorance and nonchalant indifference, if not outright hostility, for Mother Earth.

In retrospect, of course, NWXSW turned out not to be Rusty's first and last album. It wasn't the end, but the heralding start of Rusty as a different kind of artist. With songs such as Where Do We Go From Now and Barbarians, the pop and country-rock songwriter from Texas had morphed into a singing, strumming social justice warrior and eco-evo-revo-spiritual rebel. It would take a while to get back on his feet, but more and even harder hitting, higher reaching songs were soon to come.

NWXSW - album by Rusty Reid

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LYRICS & NOTES

1. Hot as a Pistol
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

Baby I know what you're here for
You're comin' around to see me
Baby I know what you're here for
You're comin' around to see me
Cause my love is Hot As A Pistol
Baby my love is Hot As A Pistol
Baby my love is Hot As A Pistol... for you
Alright baby come over
I love the things you do
I can hardly stay off that trigger
Knowin' you love me too
I know you're lovin' me the best you can
Even though our time is short
Sometimes you give me all that I can stand
Still I can't help wantin' more and more and more

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Steve Beasley - guitar, background vocals, bass, drums

2. My Other Baby Will
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

I know you're thinking that your leaving's gonna make me sad
I know you're hoping that I'm sitting home alone and mad
I'll bet you think since I lost you, I'm having trouble just making do
But I know this, if you won't love me still, My Other Baby Will
I know you're thinking that I'm dreaming I'll get back with you
I know you're hoping that I'm missing you the way I used to
I'll bet you think since our goodbye, I'm having trouble just getting by
But I know this, if you won't love me still, My Other Baby Will
You're having fun with this trouble, laughing at me the fool
You're not falling, you're not calling. You won't give up, no that won't do
You want me to take up your slack and mine, too
You won't give in, 'til I give through
Well I've got a surprise for you
I know you're thinking that your lovin' left a spell on me
I know you're hoping that you're bringing me down to my knees
I'll bet you think since our love's gone, I'm having trouble just hanging on
But I know this, if you won't love me still, My Other Baby Will

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Pete Moceri - guitar
Johnny Burgess - keyboards
Viren Lemmer - bass
Jad Simpson - drums

3. No Deposit, No Return
(Cover Tune, See Below)

4. If You Were Me
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

If you knew you like I do
Youíd know why I canít stand it
Itís too much, too real
I canít breathe when Iím not holding you
I canít help it, thatís the way I feel
Do you hear me?
Maybe you donít see who you turned out to be
You make my dreams come true
If You Were Me, you would love you too
I feel strangled in your love, Iím helpless
Cast your magic, make me warm and hollow
I need you, and you know you need me
So come together, see how far it goes

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Ric Plunk - keyboards
Ray Hamilton - guitar
Kenny Kase - bass
Kenny Umbarger - drums

5. That's The Thing About That
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

I'd like to get to know you better
like to get to know you well
Won't you let me save your life
You know your little secrets just can't compare with my love
Won't you let me pay your price
Are you a young girl? I don't mind
Are you a poor girl? I don't mind
Are you a good girl? I don't mind
And That's The Thing About That. That's The Thing About That
I'd like to take you undercover
Like to get you underground
Tangle your lines in mine
You know your other merchandise can't compare with my love
I can make you everytime
That's what you can say to yourself to remind of your plan
It doesn't have to take long to find out you were so wrong
And they don't understand, they don't understand, they don't understand
That's The Thing about love

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Steve Beasley - guitar
Ric Plunk - keyboards
Ray Hamilton - guitar
Kenny Kase - bass
Kenny Umbarger - drums
Kim Martin, Chris Martin - backing vocals

6. Miss Independent
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

I know your mind is wandering
Taking you places I canít go
You donít want me there, Oh no
Itís not that you donít care
You just donít want me close enough to hold you back
Seems like you would know Iím really on your side
Oh no. Youíre stumbling on your pride
I wish that you could see you like I do
If you were starring in the motion pictures
I bet youíd easily see... itís so unnecessary
You could use some help from me
Miss Independent. Whoa. Miss Independent.. Whoa
I know your mind is wandering
Thinking things you donít want me to know
Just because you donít. Oh no
You could say but wonít
You want to love me your own way. Hiding out
And you wonít let me row to your island fort
Oh no. Yeah, itís me, of course
Don't you think it's time that you think about me?

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Steve Beasley - guitar
Ric Plunk - keyboards
Ray Hamilton - guitar
Kenny Kase - bass
Kenny Umbarger - drums

7. Key to the City
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

Blue and gold mosaic dome
Old adobe steeple standing sentry on the hill
A jumbled postcard city down below
A park of palms, don't know its name
Lovers lie embracing the October sun
Reminding me again that I'm alone
The Key To The City went to someone's grave
It's secret soul is buried underground
Days turn to decades, faces come and go
The Key To The City never will be found
Pastel row of Victorians
Doomed to face away from the bridge upon the bay
And golden hills that ring the other side
And lo the steel white pyramid
Brandished like a sword against the ocean's shroud
A vain bravado echoed citywide
The Key To The City went to someone's grave
It's growing up while ever winding down
And they who would find it, haven't got a clue
The Key To The City never will be found
The Key To The City went to someone's grave
When this lonesome city was just a winsome little town
But late in the nightfall, it dawns again at last
The Key To The City never will be found

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Steve Beasley - guitar, bass, drums

8. Known You Twice
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

Doesn't it seem we've known each other longer than this?
I could swear I've loved you all my life
I remember long ago this very same kiss
A hundred years tonight
You've got the same dark eyes
Could it be I've Known You Twice?
Do you believe we've played this scene on some stage before?
There's so much I think I recognize
Not long ago I didn't know, but now I'm for sure
Whatever happened to our lives back then?
Did we go astray? Did we just blow away?
Whatever happened to our dreams back then?
Maybe our dream... was just to meet again

Rusty - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Steve Beasley - guitar, bass, drums

9. I Want to Believe
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

I can see your point now, I can see what you went through
Itís such a shame that I couldnít see your side
I must have taken too many liberties
Is that what you see in me?
Well I could be mistaken but I thought I saw a sign
The way you look at me. Are you afraid of me?
I must have broken too many secrecies
Is that why you run from me?
Make a little effort to show me youíre right
It wonít take too long... I want to believe tonigh
That your sudden anger directed at me
Is subject to change. I Want To Believe youíll see
You revert to logic to reverse your taste for me
Is that what this requires? Deny what you desire?
I must have slandered somebodyís decency
You wonít even speak to me.
Canít you see that my point is that we could get it right?
Itís just a case of you really wanting to
I must be dreaming an impossibility... unless itís deceiving me

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Steve Beasley - guitar
Ric Plunk - keyboards
Ray Hamilton - guitar
Kenny Kase - bass
Kenny Umbarger - drums

10. Earthquake City
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

We are living by the sea
Below the mountainís silent frown
We have come seeking money
And the good life others found
We know the end must be near
Its passing will be such a pity
Still we stay, yet wonder
When we feel the thunder
Who will be lost to the grave?
Cause we wonít desert Earthquake City
We are creatures of our dreams
We have watered the promised land.
But we have laid our livesí foundation
On the surface of troubled sands
We are children of the sun
Lord and master of today
And we dance through the warnings
Of tomorrow's crushing fate
And we know the end must be near
Its passing will be such a pity
Still we stay, yet wonder
When we're torn asunder
Who will be lost to the grave?
Cause we wonít desert Earthquake City

Rusty - everything

11. Right Before Your Eyes
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

I see you crying again
It doesn't have to be that way
And so I'm trying again to show you another way
Should you really think about it
You might realize... everything you dream of may be
Right Before Your Eyes
What are you, lonely and sad?
Thinking you should have much more
But do you have it so bad?
What is it you're waiting for?
Time has a way of changing
The things we think we just can't live without.
So we find ourselves rearranging
Our hopes and fears and shadows of our doubt

Rusty - everything

12. Hurricane
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

I fell in love with a Hurricane
I saw it in her eyes.
They didn't have time to warn me
And I took such a fall, I can't be the same.
I slowly realize, I'm just where she wants me
Whoa baby, save some fury for me
Come closer, blow harder, for me
Cause you're a Hurricane, and I'm a ship in your sea
She knocked me out
And I fell in line, captive in her charms
They didn't have time to warn me
So I ride out the storm
Intertwined in cloudy, swirling arms
That's just where she wants me
There's no hope of escaping
It's all around, below and above
But who wants to keep from spawning
A tidal wave of love?

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Pete Moceri - guitar
Steve Beasley - guitar
Viren Lemmer - bass
Jad Simpson - drums

13. Where Do We Go From Now
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

From Seattle to Soweto, Bogota to Beijing
There's a people with a future nobody's seen
Six hundred nations, six billion names
One common Mother, from Her dust we came
Where Do We Go From Now, as we cross this line?
I want to know just how, we hold it bigger
We make it better, this time
The past we cannot replicate, let's learn and move on
Into the maw of the millennium, a new day has dawned
But what do we take with us? And what to leave behind?
Is it fair to say some old dreams must be allowed to die? Can we find our way to integral space?
What secrets must we know for this time and place?
And what will be our saving grace.. out on the new horizon?
From Texas to Tanzania, Kingston to Katmandu
Paradigms are quaking, answers are too few
As the time sand shifts beneath us, we can't trust our old handholds
Can we forge a new connection, magical and bold?

Rusty - guitar, vocals
Pete Moceri - guitar
Johnny Burgess - keyboards
Viren Lemmer - bass
Jad Simpson - drums

14. (We Are The) Barbarians
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)

Since Cain and Abel it's been fight, fight, fight
The real golden rule is might makes right
The winners write the history that we all learn
They're heroes all, while Jericho burns
With greed and ego out of control
We say we're righteous people, but no, no, no
We are the Barbarians. We are the Barbarians
We are the Barbarians. We are the Barbarians
We've subjugated, dominated throughout time
Then celebrate our heinous crimes
Cause the winners write the history that we all learn
They're heroes all, while the pagans burn
If we want it we take it, we kill for thrills
Life and land ours to bend to our will
And nothing is sacred, and no one is safe
The horde is at the gates... it's us
We can tell by the way we've trashed our planet home,
Heaven is a place no humans roam
The sick thing about it is we haven't learned
Still so smug, while the rainforest burns

Rusty - everything

All songs Copyright © 2001 Rio Paso Music (BMI)
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

NWXSW also included one cover tune, No Deposit, No Return, first recorded in 1952 by Martha Davis, and also in the same year by the Andrews Sisters. Rusty discovered Martha Davis' version of the tune among a stash of 78 RPM records in an abandoned house near Houston.


© Copyright 2018 Rio Paso Music Productions