web tracking software Head to Heart - 2019 Album by Rusty Reid, the most revolutionary album ever, original music, singer songwriter, indie rock, alt-rock, alt-country, country-rock from Texas, California and Washington State

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- M U S I C -

Head to Heart - album by Rusty Reid
ReMix Release: 2024: Head to Heart
Original Release: 2019: Head to Heart
Northern Latitudes Records
Copyright © Rio Paso Music (BMI)

~ A Revolutionary Manifesto in Song! ~

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Idealism, vision, wisdom, philosophy, spirituality such as presented here usually requires a lifetime to achieve. And that’s why perhaps only a seasoned troubadour could deliver an album like Head to Heart.


REMIX NOTE: 2024 marks the fifth anniversary of the initial release of Head to Heart by Rusty Reid. As with his singles, Rusty felt that Head to Heart deserved the superior mixing skills he has developed since the album's original public debut. This remixed version of what Rusty refers to as his opus brings a more refined aural quality to this unique collection of substance-charged songs.

Following the release of his first album, NWXSW, in 2001, Rusty drifted back into a musical netherland, writing only a smattering of songs over the next decade and a half. Getting his groove back proved difficult. His voice was weak from inaction, his guitar skills had slipped a bit and his analog home recording setup was clunky and hopelessly outdated. It certainly seemed as if the muse had been lost.

Rusty tried to get things jump-started several times during the decade of the 2000s, writing a few songs, purchasing a new guitar, and swapping out his trusty old analog home studio recording console for a fancy digital board. "That swap didn't work well," Rusty recounts. "The new board had flying faders and could store mixes but was too complicated. I felt at home with the old board and lost with the new one. Every time I turned it on, it seems like I had to relearn how to work it. I never did get comfortable with it. That was disappointing and discouraging."

So the decade passed with little accomplished on the music front. Rusty Reid fell into a musical funk and came close to giving up music altogether. But not quite. A spark still flickered. "I remember wondering at one point after a long fallow period whether I could call myself a songwriter any longer if I was no longer writing songs. The thought kind of bummed me. Being a songwriter is an important part of my self-identity. To lose that would be problematical."

Head to Heart - album by Rusty Reid

Technology to the rescue. In 2013, Rusty asked a buddy to orchestrate an instrumental arrangement of one of his songs, and watched over the friend's shoulder as he manipulated a modern digital audio workstation (DAW). Inspired by the possibilities, Rusty dove head-first into the digital music realm, first playing with his old tracks dating back to Houston.

"I was just thrilled to be able to bring my old recordings into the computer and play with them. I really didn't have any new songs that inspired me to record them."

But that situation was short-lived. Rolling down the highway, the Olympic Mountains in view, a single line popped into Rusty's head: Had to leave the old state to find me. "I was taken aback," Rusty says. "I realized that I had not consciously, rationally, pieced that statement together; it had just come out of nowhere, as so many artistic ideas do. At first I was wondering if it even made sense."

It made more than sense. Not only does this single line sum up much of Rusty's personal journey, but mystics through the ages would recognize it as their own journey. The old state. For Rusty that would be Texas, but also a state of mind, a state of being, which must be shed and left behind before a higher state can be attained. That, too, applies to Rusty Reid.

That one lyrical line opened the floodgates to resurgent creativity, spawning most of the songs that would be included on Rusty's album, Head to Heart. "To Find Me" was quickly followed by "I Went Searching," setting the tone for an album of deep philosophical and spiritual content. Yet, in a sense, it was a continuation of the direction his first album, NWXSW, was heading in several of its songs. Head to Heart would become a discourse on some of the heaviest of human concerns. Eighteen songs (though three are but snippets), taking on the thorniest human questions and the weight of the world.

The album, and the ideas, of Head to Heart would be put to personal test in the summer of 2015 when Rusty's mom suffered a debilitating heart attack. Rusty and his sister spent nearly three months back in their old hometown of Midland, Texas caring for their mother before she passed. "My dad's death, 13 years earlier, really threw me for a loop," Rusty explains. "If he had died before I released NWXSW, I may never have finished it. But this time I was far better equipped to handle the blow. All my life I had filtered everything I did by wondering what my mother would think. She and I were so alike in many ways. I think she would have been very much like me if she had been born into the same circumstances, and I would have been just like her if I had shared her situaton, which involved far more challenges than anything I ever faced. Losing her from my life was very sad, but I clearly saw the elegance and deep meaning of the process. There is not a shred of mystery to death. It's very simple. Death is a beautiful thing. There is nothing to fear. It's the perfect system. It rescues us from dying, delivers us into the everlasting peace of nothingness, and clears the way for more things to have the living experience. We are only able to live because of death. It even imparts the most important lesson that we can carry throughout our lifetime: You better start living and loving. Recognizing this provides great clarity and equanimity. 'Joyful participation in the sorrow of the world,' is how it is described in the East."

Run once again through the crucible of personal loss, Rusty came out the other side with another scar but still moving forward. "Through the undertow, we surface at last." There would be no funk this time around. The album would be finished.

From a thematic perspective, Head to Heart is surely one of the most radical, revolutionary records ever released. This wide-ranging work (essentially a double album) is no single-issue or limited perspective screed, not just an intellectual proclamation, but rather a universal, spiritual call to action to rethink and remake much of human civilization. It is post-post modern, or integral, not content with simple deconstruction but circling back around to integrate the best of human cultures, including the classical virtues: love, truth, peace, courage, equality, goodwill, justice for all, happiness, real (not religious) spirituality and abiding affection for Mother Earth. Who could be against that? Well, just about everyone it turns out. Few are willing to pay the price of peace and a sustainable world: the end of many cherished traditions, including religion... and the wanton destruction of animals and the environment.

Head to Heart - album by Rusty Reid

The opening notes on the album come from one of the many melodic themes entwined in Rusty's song, "Too Many Poor," which appears near the end of the album. It's a wistful, mystical, somewhat melacholy synthesizer riff, accented here by double tracked acoustic guitar, setting the stage for a rare extended listening experience.

The listener knows they are in for a cerebral ride when among the first songs are "The Story of Now," which recounts the history of the Universe in five minutes, followed by "The Meaning of Life," which succinctly answers merely one the thorniest question of human history. Next, the title song, "Head to Heart," explains the simple truth of how the virtue of our intellect, conscience and deep reservoir of love must be channeled into actualization for each individual to attain their best self. Already in three songs Rusty has made more sense of the world than some philosophers do in their entire careers... and we’re just getting warmed up.

Three songs of personal searching, finding and transformation follow: "Ancient Stones," "To Find Me" and "I Went Searching." In these songs, the journey to "a higher view and a new mind's eye," must traverse through loss, including that of the old self.

Three works on the album are co-written with legendary poets: Edgar Allan Poe, George Gordon (Lord) Byron and the anonymous creator of the Indian “Moola Mantra.” In "Eldorado," "There is a Pleasure" and "Sat Cit Ananda," Rusty has married memorable new chords to old words... an effort that has been tried before, but not like this. Rusty’s twist beyond his engaging melodies is to extend each tale... kindling a new contemplation. This might be considered presumptuous, even blasphemous, to hardcore devotees of these beloved works, but such interpretations would denigrate a literary device that brings these works alive in a new way for the current era, those long bygone voices now part of a very modern conversation. Art using art as the medium. Would Poe, Byron and the "Moola Mantra" composer approve? Let the debate begin.

After painting a worldview in the first part of the album with songs of hope, meaning, positivity, change as growth, and abiding love for the planet mother, in the second half Rusty takes direct aim at the pervasive, oft unquestioned but nonetheless stultifying dysfunctions of modern culture. The brief but biting "Your Tummy" heralds the change in tone. In rapid succession carnism, religion, women’s subjugation, disparity of wealth, conservatism, corporatocracy and societal dysfunction receive the blade. The chilling "Dismaland" (the “saddest place in space”) rounds up all the negativity into one song, laying the blame squarely at the feet of conservatives and their corporations. The spell of gloom is momentarily suspended by the album’s crescendo, the bridge’s anthemic call for revolution, before the final verse and chorus fall back into the dystopia of Dismaland as the enduring image.

The call to action is clear: ruination of the world is at hand if We the People don’t “Rise Up” and “Unite, Unite, Unite!” It's the language of a revolutionary. In this case for a revolution of love. No lies. No violence. No hate. But sweeping change nevertheless.

It should not be surprising, given the influence of the Beatles on Rusty, that many of the songs on this album seem to link directly back to themes they employed, especially those of John Lennon, another revolutionary. In a real sense, Head to Heart is an exposition on "Imagine." Rusty ends his opus defiantly optimistic with the song "Another Way" in which he virtually channels John, even offering a counterpoint to Lennon's famous claim in "Strawberry Fields," that "nothing is real." Rusty says the opposite: "everything is real," but argues the two seemingly conflicting statements are actually complimentary.

"John is referring to the transcendent, the eternal shadow. Save for the fundamental forces and subatomic particles, nothing in the Universe is real for long. All things must pass. Even stars must die. In 'Another Way' I am contrasting the shadow with our speck of flame, the here/now, where we are alive, everything is real, even thoughts, dreams and apparitions, and the laws of cause and effect are fully in force. Real people have created a real mess on a real planet filled with other real beings who are really suffering because of our real ignorance, real disconnect, real selfishness and real hubris. It’s up to us to make the world we want to live in and allows future generations of all Earthlings to thrive. We can’t do that if we don’t wake up during our brief flicker of life and make it so. Awaiting heaven, the next life, or meditating, praying or playing through this one won’t cut it. The highest integrity, morality, spirituality requires that we put our love into action to nurture and defend what is really sacred, and that’s not some mythological godman, it’s first and foremost our mother planet, along with the living beings, all of them, of this beautiful orb. War is over if we want it. And the biggest war of all time is the one humans long ago declared on nature. We live in the most dangerous time in human history for our species. We have fouled the nest. We have polluted the sacred. The biosphere is hurting. We're running out of time. The sacred doesn’t need worship; it needs defending. We need all good and brave souls on the front lines... right now! I think this is precisely what John was saying. Despite his line in 'Strawberry Fields', John not only recognized the real, but believed he, and you and I, could change it. Let's prove him right.”

Rusty Reid


I'm no longer a young punk. I'm an elder now, so I was hoping that with this album I could share what I have learned. My journey has allowed me the time and place and experience and inclination and information to ponder and question not just authority, but everything else. I've thought long and hard about these issues, consulted and come into accord with some of the best thinkers of history, tried hard to keep every thought congruent with science, and arrived at a modern synthesis that I think adds up to a beautiful, moral, truthful and sustainable worldview. But it's a worldview that is going to make people uncomfortable, because it requires change and loss. Most people are mired in thoughtless, uncaring, unsustainable, selfish, dubious customs, at least to some degree. Most folks don't question; they just conform. They don't like change, and they really don't like loss. What loss? Well, those habits, traditions and beliefs that they conflate with themselves.

Such habits, tradition, beliefs and behavior are not innate; they are all learned, bequeathed to us by culture. Yet it can seem that we were born this way. And so, many people never question this state of the self and/or would never want to change. I understand it. That was me, too. I come straight from that same mindset. The great problem with many of these habits, traditions, beliefs and behavior is that they are harmful to others or the planet, and ultimately, often, to the individual who clings to them.

Somehow, somewhere along the line, I began to question the old habits and beliefs, the status-quo that ever urged conformity and, to an alarming degree, selfishness. So I went searching... to find the truth, and somewhere in there, the real me. The more I looked into the situation, the more I felt dismayed and disoriented within our hyper materialistic society. I also discovered that I was hardly alone. Not only are there myriad contemporary writers, poets, artists, etc., critical of culture and offering superior ways of being, it turns out that most of the great philosophers and spiritual teachers through history are addressing this very same conundrum. In time, and with the help of a squad of literary guides, I found a 'higher view and a new mind's eye.' And that's what I'm trying to pass on here.

Just in this one album, I'm probably assailing the beliefs and lifestyles of 99.9 percent of the human population. I suspect it will be the rare listener who is not bothered, or outraged, by at least one song on the album. It's not that I'm intentionally trying to make anyone mad; I'm just describing a better world that does not include a lot of the harmful and dangerous beliefs and behavior that are currently still embedded in human culture. I'm bringing the truth. Not "my" truth... but universal truth, backed up by ancient and modern wisdom, as well as science. Alas, the truth often hurts. Most people can't handle the truth. Yet, I would hope that the mystic journey of personal evolution and cultural revolution described through the album is something that a critical mass of people of all nations will undertake... one individual at a time. That would very soon transform the world. We'd better hope they hurry. Otherwise we are on the road to Dismaland.


Hey, enjoyed "Head to Heart," you havent lost yer touch!... sounds terrific -- you haven't lost yer voice either, amazing at our age (and more than Dylan or McCartney can say!) ... some fine & fancy guitar work, too! Glad you're getting it out the door and hope we don't have to wait another 20 years for #3! Look at ya!... You compose memorable hooks within range of Elton & Elvis C., sing melody/harmony w/Everly Bros. precision, jangle guitar chords and leads that would do the Byrds or Buffalo Springfield proud, and then top it all off w/self-produced SFX videos... Some people have way too much talent, That's right, I'm talking to you, bruddah! You live in a gilded Talent Taj Mahal.
-- Jerry Lazar, journalist

Once in a generation comes along a musician such as Rusty Reid. There are the names you'll recognize from the past who have few peers: Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan for example, but there also exists this underground of musicians who have this extensive catalog of amazing songs but perhaps are not on the radio or just not as widely known. "Head to Heart" begins with an intro type of song which has trippy vibes like Pink Floyd and then simply says "Let's go". Between names like Tom Petty and Neil Young, Rusty Reid also puts his own take on this sound. There is a driving to it, like those Highwaymen songs, but at the same time it feels like that Get Up Kids album "Walking On A Wire". While it might seem easy enough to paint this one as Americana, there is also this dreamy quality to it, like "That Thing You Do!" The guitar work here is first class and when you listen to the lyrics you'll find that the theme of this album seems to be about happiness, specifically the pursuit of it. "The universe does not give guarantees / Just a shot at finding happiness" is an example of this, and a more true and bold statement has perhaps never been made before. "The Meaning Of Life" gets really dreamy, like Buddy Holly floating on clouds, and then the titular track reminds me of Duncan Sheik with the acoustics. On that title track you'll also hear the line which makes the album title: "The longest journey is from head to heart" This seems kind of simple in its delivery. The head is the brain, the thinking part of things, and the heart is your emotions and as such would be what creates happiness. But it can be much more complex than that, as many great minds have written about how sometimes rather than trying to find something to make you happy you should find a way to be happy with what you have. Along with these deep lyrics that will keep you pondering happiness, "Ancient Stones" takes on more those rock n roll vibes while "To Find Me" has this great guitar part which sounds almost like a lullaby. "I Went Searching" has these funky beats and reminds me of something more from the late 1980's/early 1990's like Depeche Mode or just something from the radio and MTV around that same era. "Eldorado" can feel like the soundtrack to a movie with hints of Urge Overkill and it just goes to show how diverse this album can be while also sticking to that pure form of rock music. Spanning all of time and yet settling on none all the same, Rusty Reid creates music that won't be thought of in the future as being from the year 2019 or the "2010's" but rather, these songs are simply timeless.
-- Raised by Cassettes

From Janis Joplin and Roky Erickson to Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Doug Sahm, Texas has produced its fair share of hippie-rockers over the years — some might even say more than its fair share. In any case, here’s another name to add to that list: Rusty Reid. The singer-guitarist makes his home in the Pacific Northwest these days, but don’t let that fool you: Between the rootsy earthiness of his music and the spiritual bent of his lyrics, he’s clearly an old-school cosmic cowboy of the first order. I can dig it. it's got an intriguing mix of elements, sounds and styles. It's western and eastern, grounded and cosmic, organic and electronic, and you combine them all seamlessly and naturally. The arrangement/production/sonics are also excellent -- every piece fits and the songs ebb and flows gracefully. This is a third-eye opener that stands up to repeated spins. Plus it's got a good beat and you can meditate to it. I suspect some would say this reminds them a bit of the Beatles (especially the quiet one) during the Maharishi days. I think your sound is unique enough that no one could accuse you of being a derivative copycat. Your rootsy spirituality puts me in mind of fellow Texans like Gilmore and Sahm (though obviously your music sounds like neither). Which raises the question: How did Texas manage to produce so many hippies? That's the real issue here, if you ask me.
-- Tinnitist

RUSTY REID is class. The beautifully sung single ‘Head To Heart’ is a classic ode to love and never letting go, even if that’s the right way to go. Stated Rusty: “Love – not just for a few things, but for everything – is the pathway.” A mix of Roy Orbison and George Harrison vibes, Rusty’s own delicate story telling is bold and unapologetic to the n’th degree. Vast and expansive, the words just meld seamlessly with Rusty’s song arrangement. It’s just love, about love… in love. Take the trip with Rusty’s brand of beauty.
-- comeherefloyd

Judging by the current music charts, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was out of trend to tell stories through music. So, for everyone that’s just as frustrated as me with prosaic music, Rusty Reid is sure to restore the faith. With the extended album length, you’re invited to delve deep in the aural escapism which utilises classic American Rock guitar to throw you right back to an era where vibrant, rich, and uplifting music was a little more prolific.
-- A&R Factory

Rusty Reid’s new CD, aptly titled "Head to Heart," takes us on a musical journey reminiscent of the 60s, punctuated with tones of East Indian sitar-like sounds in the song, "Sat Cit Ananda." Raising the question whether the Baby Boomer generation, which so flaunted "flower power," has taken us where we wanted to go... obviously not. "To Find Me" is an example of such soul-searching, while the song, "Dismaland" commands, “We are better than this; we can turn it around.” Covering topics that should be near and dear to every listener, "Head to Heart" hits its mark beautifully.
-- Vicki Welch Ayo, author ("Boys from Houston")

Steeped in country music, British pop, surf rock, psychedelic rock, and many other influences, Seattle musician Rusty Reid grew up on the dusty plains of West Texas, a region that has produced many revered singer-songwriters. Growing up in such a rich place, Reid had plenty of material to work with for his new album, Head to Heart. On the title track,, Rusty Reid’s emotional, crooning-like vocals remind of Roy Orbison. The same is true for other notable songs like “To Find Me” and “Eldorado” – two of the strongest song from the 18-track album. We love how the guitars swirl around the chorus followed by melodic guitar solos. It’s no surprise, perhaps, that Orbison, also a native West Texan, is one of Reid’s top musical influences. You can hear it on track after track. “The Story of Now,” is more suited for country pop radio with its bright melodies and jangling guitars. Then there are more alt songs, such as the standout, “I Went Searching,” with funk-like guitars and rhythms wrapped in a dark, yet upbeat, composition. It’s just a track you have to hear. All things being alternative and indie in the cafe, we prefer tracks like this. Another example is the one-minute industrial/punk jam number “Your Tummy” – a totally different cut from the tone of the rest of the album. But it’s interesting and cool, and other listeners may also be happy he had the courage to record it and put it on the album. "Satchitananda" represents “existence, consciousness, and bliss” or “truth, consciousness, bliss”, is an epithet and description for the subjective experience of the ultimate, unchanging reality in Hinduism called Brahma. The use of the tabla and sitar set the scene perfectly for a trip back 50 years when Eastern music was regularly mixed with pop and rock music. Other tracks like the psych folk-oriented, “Ancient Stones,” also sound like they beckon the hippie era. The most pop-rock-oriented song on the album is “Passion For Fashion.” It sounds like 80s rock and almost reminds us a bit of The Kinks in far as song structure and sound. Unlike many albums sent to us, the production level is solid here. Throughout the album, the listeners can clearly hear the influences of the deep, western south, where many different roads of music genres intersect and intertwine, and have for nearly a century. And yet there are unexpected influences like indie, punk, funk and Eastern music. There are enough interestingly different and strong songs on here to make Head to Heart a worthy listen.
-- Indie Rock Cafe
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Head To Heart is the 2019 album by Seattle, Washington singer/songwriter Rusty Reid on the Northern Latitudes Records label. This amazing 17 track album features Rusty and many other great musicians, showcasing his songwriting abilities with a sound that goes from country rock to heavier rock to even a little hip hop thrown in with such great tracks as The Story Of Now, the title track Head To Heart, I Went Searching, Your Tummy, Passion Or Fashion, and so much more. I was quite impressed with his songwriting style and performance as well as how this album was recorded and produced. I recommend you take a listen to this amazing album on Spotify and I believe you will like it so much that you will want to own your own copy on CD or digital download from Amazon, CD Baby, Bandcamp and many other music outlets. You can learn more about this artist and music by going to his website https://rustyreid.com
-- Oasis Entertainment

Protest music doesn’t have to be acoustic folk or angry rap. Though there’s nothing wrong with those approaches, Rusty Reid’s chosen method of expression on this album he describes as “a revolutionary manifesto in song” is different. Shimmering guitars, a chugging rhythm that often suggests Traveling Wilburys, and a clear voice are just some of the hallmarks on 'Head to Heart.' Reid’s not afraid to express his point of view in song; it’s a perspective gained by living through the sixties and spotting troubling parallels in today’s world. “The universe does not give guarantees,” he sings. But he’s optimistic.
-- Bill Kopp, MusoScribe

"I've played it often enough to get closer to it. So here goes. It was cool for me to hear your style again. You know that I've been a fan a long time. The first couple of listens gave me my first impressions and I think I told you that 'I Went Searching' was my instant favorite. In retrospect, that was too easy. Your record is rather preachy and the lyrics for me became less of the narrative than the music. As I listened, I heard you and a variety of other friends, diverse and some not currently appreciated. Your music has always intrigued me. At times it sounds very simple but listening shows it's incredibly intricate and woven. You're a clever one, Rusty. So I listen and I found myself appreciating lyrics that needed my full attention. Anything with the word 'intrepid' or 'quest' requires more presence than the normal jaunty song. It's like you have this musical language that comes from a place that is truly personal. It seems to me that your most ear friendly song is 'Head To Heart.' It's a great melody and the lyric is more universal. It's the best Don Henley song he never wrote and would make a great introduction to the world. I love several of the songs now without condition. 'There Is A Pleasure' is fucking beautiful. In all ways. 'I Went Searching' I still like, and 'To Find Me' is cool. As to your question of 'Passion or Fashion' I've heard it 15 times and it still bothers me in its accusatory stance, but I'm betting that's your intention and you've succeeded. I take it from your press you intend this album to be a statement and that's the way you're going to promote it. I think you've done really well here."
-- Jon Stone

Immediately appealing if enigmatic... unabashedly unusual, eccentric and ultimately accessible. Explore Reid’s sprawling epic new album Head to Heart.
-- Queen City Sounds & Art
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I like the message, absolutely. This kind of spirit-rock feels very west coast to me, all of the California hippies that are now spread out from LA to Vancouver, will enjoy this music. The tones are really nice, the drums sound great, and the production feels right into the vein of heartland rock like Tom Petty. I like your sense of style for building a chorus, you have a nice feel for that, and your best feature is the consistency of your messaging. I feel like I really understand you, and what you believe in, and I have your back on that. We share values. The meaning and depth of the lyrics is your greatest strength. Please stay on brand and message the way that you are - it will be the core of how you connect with your audience. That is not a problem for you, and adds a lot of depth to the music.
-- ChillFiltr

I like the mellow drum tempo & lead guitar riffs and your vocal has a tender/poetic quality that brings the lyrics. Overall an easy listening sound with a nostalgic vibe. There is clearly a lot of thought that goes into your lyrics. I like a song that tells a story and takes you on a journey and your songs definitely do that. You have created an uplifting sound that I can see resonating with a lot of listeners.
-- Playlist Boutique

Such a mesmeric voice that oozes the soul of '60s and '70s pop and rock. It's both earthly and angelic, which is apt as you unpack a truly profound statement on reconnecting to our past and the world slipping from our grasp right now. Quite honestly, these are the kind of songs that resonate with me and I think would resonate with many people. In the time we are now living, it's imperative more than ever that we never forget our roots and what drives us forward.
-- B-Sides & Badlands
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Awesome, so vibrant and rockin'! It reminds me of Austin in the 60s with Roky at my side.
-- 360 degrees: The Best Indie Music

The music is the medium blended and unified with Rusty Reid’s poetic wordsmithing that dares us to carry forward and achieve a transformational spiritual survival. Head to Heart's blueprint is a step by step guide to accomplish this spirituality through the unity of virtues. This is about Reid’s life as a fractal of the overarching human story of everything that we can all relate to in a new fresh updated dharma.
-- Tomalo Garrison, reviewer

Nice Tom Petty kind of vibe. The lyrics are written by someone who has lived and has a sense of wisdom.
-- Leg Puppy

We were able to feel the songs through the lyrics. One can definitely tell how much heart and meaning you place in your music. We see an audience that should appreciate your talents.
-- Indie Artist Music TV

Really nice overall sound on your tracks. I like the vocal performance, and the production is good, too.
-- Plastic Mag, UK

Performance is impressive and the songwriting is notable.
-- BroadTube Music Channel
See full interview on BroadTube

Reflective vocals and lush guitar work shine.
-- Obscure Sound

Really inspiring sound.
-- Born Music Online

Great voice.
-- Keep Walking Music

A bit of a Morrissey vibe. It's pretty.
-- Buffalo Blog

Nice classic songs and performance.
-- Modern Music Maker

Cool guitars, lively natural vibe. Reminded us of Poco in some moments.
-- Grotesquelizer

Good songwriting, cool musicianship and vocals.
-- Queen City Sounds

Very well assembled and the vocals are really dope.
-- Cloudy

Reminds me of straight up old school prog rock, with a ton of David Gilmour-esque guitar licks and even some Beatles-y moments of vocal harmony.
-- Jon Vilardi, blogger

Evokes the big hitters of the genre. Radio friendly.
-- Various Small Flames

Professional artist with charming voice.
-- Cheers to the Vikings

A lush alt country take with confident production.
-- We All Want Someone To Shout For, blog channel

Impressive vocals.
-- Gems & Secrets

Lovely vocal performance.
-- Conversations about Her

Love the themes, such a great message that is often completely neglected.
-- When the Horn Blows

Solid. Keep up the good work.
-- Mugatunes

You have something special in your hands.
-- Precision Select

Music production is very well done. Vocal delivery is good and a nice tone to singing voice.
-- Monster Hits Music

Love how clear the vocals are.
-- Tongue Tied Magazine

Catchy and chill sounds/beats.
-- The Drunken Coconut

-- Texas Country Music Radio

This is dope, man. The vocal work is impressive.
-- ChillTracks

Skillful artist with incredible voice!
-- Keep Walking Music

Very interesting lyrics!
-- Wickedd Childd


"The Story of Now" (song) embed and review by A&R Factory

"Head to Heart" (song) embed review by comeherefloyd.com

"Head to Heart" album review from Raised by Cassettes

"The Story of Now" & interview featured on AVA Live Radio's "Behind the Music"

"I Went Searching" & Q&A featured on AVA Live Radio's "New Music Monday"

"I Went Searching" featured on Tinnitist "Indie Roundup"

"Head to Heart" album review on Indie Rock Cafe

"Head to Heart" album review on Oasis Entertainment

"The Meaning of Life" & Interview featured on BroadTube Musice


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1. Too Many Poor Theme
(music by Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)
Rusty - keyboards, acoustic guitars

Backstory: I had planned to include "Too Many Poor" on my first album, NWXSW (see more below), along with a different version of this prelude snippet as the lead-off song, but at the last minute decided against it. The prelude features a keyboard riff from the actual song. I came up with this part on my Ensoniq synth as I was recording the song back in the late 80s in Manhattan Beach. For some reason it reminded me of the melodic theme to the movie "The Exorcist," harmonic and enchanting but a bit spooky. On the full song it serves as a connecting part from the chorus into the guitar outro, but as a prelude I'm using the same lines to establish a mood of anticipation and differentiation. The idea is you hear this as the first song and right off the bat and know this is not your normal album.

2. The Story of Now
(Music & Lyrics by Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Wander through the saga of the world
All the way back to when time began
Eons play with clouds of starry swirls
Long before the age of man
Then appeared an orb of blue and white
Nestled in the family of Ra
Baby Earth and Luna shining bright
A masterpiece of nature's laws
Let me tell you a tale
It's the story of why
It's the story of space and time
It's the story of life
It's the story of Earth
It's the story of how
It's the story of you and me
It's The Story of Now
In her water womb our Mother Earth
Synthesized the first stir of life
Two thousand million years before the birth
Of any higher archetype
So unfurled the chain of all our kin
From moss and trees and fish and frogs and birds
Every Earthling clad in nature's skin
Our common genes a tangled blur
Shimmering across a lost horizon
A little band came down from the trees
Out on to the plains under the bright sun
And eventually beyond the sea
The human story soars romantically
Intrepid souls determined to survive
So too we fall in sin so selfishly
Thwarting our best chance to thrive
The Universe does not give guarantees
Just a shot at finding happiness
Now we should know the secret and the key
Love should be the north star of our quest

Rusty - vocals, electric guitars
Ronan Dempsey - acoustic guitars, electric guitars, piano, organ
Brian Hudson - drums
Tim Denbo - bass
Justin Morgan - background vocals

Backstory: "The Story of Now" is inspired by the writings and lectures of Marshall Ganz. With this album I wanted songs that explain my worldview, which is pretty much based on 'Big History,' that is, the history of the Universe. Marshall Ganz talks about the importance of narrative, story. He encourages everyone to think of their lives as a story, and each individual as their own story teller (and Joseph Campbell would insist that everyone become the hero of their own story). It sounds simple, but is very profound. If there is any story that every human should know and understand, at least at a simple level, it's the story of the Universe. This is the backstory of every other story. To me, every scientific discovery is infused with great intellectual, emotional, philosophical and even spiritual richness. Of course, all of those discoveries, and the entire history of the Universe, come together in the moment of now. The 'story of now' began 14 billion years ago. I wanted to capture those 14 billion years in one song. As soon as I had written it I knew this had to be the first song on the album. It sets the framework for what we are going to discuss: why, space and time, life, Earth, how, you and me, now.

3. The Meaning of Life
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Some people say you must wait
For happiness to come to you
But trusting it all to blind fate
Is not what we are meant to do
Open up your heart
Don't stand apart
Just pursue happiness
All things seek happiness
Help others find their happiness
The quest... is The Meaning of Life
Happiness can be so elusive
But only if we're hard to please
Just watch the way that trees and birds live
They find such joy with graceful ease
Open up your mind
Feel the world's delight
How did we become so good at losing our way?
Don't we know what magic it is to wake up every day?
Some people say you must wait
For any hope to see paradise
But heaven's waiting just beyond our mind gate
Follow raven's lead... and fly!
Open up your soul
See how high you go

Rusty - vocals, electric guitars
Ronan Dempsey - acoustic guitars, electric guitars, keyboards
Isaac Wriston - bass
Hubert Payne - drums

Backstory: "The Meaning of Life" was written just a month after "The Story of Now" in 2017, and seems to flow as a sequel in the same stream of consciousness, picking up on the subject of happiness. Philosophers, poets and artists have long contemplated “the meaning of life,” but here I'm interjecting a rarely included but rationally and spiritually essential requirement: the meaning of life must apply to ALL life, not just human life. If you want to contemplate the meaning of strictly human life, then don’t call it "the meaning of life." Certainly, a universe could do worse than gifting all of its living things a “shot at happiness,” which they must then individually pursue, which all things do... all the time. If this isn’t the “meaning of life” for all living things, what possibly could be?

4. Head to Heart
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Heaven knows life can be so cruel
And it feels like hell each time things fall apart
We pass from class to class in hard knocks school
But the longest journey is from Head to Heart
Goodness knows the path can be so lonely
Some days it's so hard to even start
We strain to remain sane to some degree
But the longest journey is from Head to Heart
We may travel the world
Learn everything there is to know
But until our love freely flows
We really let it go
We really haven't grown
Into our higher soul.
Selfishness shadows human striving
And self-inflicted wounds among our scars
Far as the farthest star we may go flying
Still the longest journey is from Head to Heart

Rusty - vocals, electric guitar
Ronan Dempsey - acoustic guitars, electric guitars, piano, bass
Brandon Davis - drums

Backstory: The album’s title song was originally called “The Longest Journey,” but soon gave way to the more pointedly spiritual "Head to Heart." The line, “The longest journey is from head to heart,” is not original. The saying has been around for a long while, variously ascribed as a Native American saying. Iheard it from a commencement speaker at the doctorate graduation of a friend, and immediately jotted down the idea on the graduation program, and went to writing the song in late May, early June, 2017. This song is one of those that just “fell together, almost effortlessly. I’m not sure where it came from, but that one line was a great start. With that triple rhyme in the third line I thought maybe I had painted myself into a corner that would be hard to manage, but it all ended up pretty well.

5. Ancient Stones
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

As I move on through and the years roll by
I've found a higher view and a new mind's eye
This old shining sun and dear Mother Earth
We are all just one with/from a common birth
I want to sleep on Ancient Stones
Feel them seep into my bones
Touch the bark of giant trees
Let them spark a change in me
As I find my way and I lose my youth
Turning every day into a search for truth
Seasons ebb and flow and our loved ones pass
Through the undertow, we surface at last
I want to see the condor fly
Into the breeze and painted sky
I want to swim in crystal seas
May it stem a change in me
Every sunrise starts the birds to singing
Every rainbow clears the stormy sky
Nature's ever faithful in the bringing
If only we will love her right

Rusty - vocals, electric guitars, bass, drum programming

Backstory: "Ancient Stones" emerged as I was sitting in a tire store awaiting a repair. I was just daydreaming and the phrase 'ancient stones' came to me, and I quickly figured out the first chorus. I had no real melody yet, but both choruses before I left the store. That was strange because I usually don't write that way. It was July, 2016, and I drove home on the repaired tire and finished up the song. Recording of the demo began later that same day. With "Ancient Stones," I'm trying to describe something of my pathway to being in love with nature. I used to think I honored nature, but later realized there was so much I was missing, including the small, subtle things that contain so much beauty, meaning and mystery: stones, bark, birdsong, rainbows, pools of crystal clear water. All my life I have been walking on 'ancient stones,' and not bothering to even notice, much less love. As I have aged, nature has become my touchstone of sanity. There is so much insanity going on in the human realm. Humans will disappoint you. But nature, if you respect and nurture and love it, just steadily gives and nourishes, physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. You can read all the books you want, you can pray and chant and sing hosanna, but the key to becoming whole is through nature.

6. To Find Me
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Had to leave the old state To Find Me
Had to leave the old state To Find Me
If I'd stayed, I'd have been - much as I was then
Had to leave the old state To Find Me
Had to change myself To Find Me
Had to change myself To Find Me
I bought into the play, day after day
Had to change myself To Find Me
Lost in the fields of dissolution
Falling through the ocean of the mind
The cost of buying my absolution
Was releasing the one I left to find
Had to lose my way To Find Me
Had to lose my way To Find Me
Had to give up some dreams, strange as it seems
Had to lose my way To Find Me

Rusty - vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitar, synth, piano, bass
Darin Watkins - drums

Backstory: "To Find Me" alludes to the process of true individuation, becoming an original self, breaking out of the societal shackles that invariably entrap us and stifle our potential as thinking, feeling creatures. This is an arduous, inherently painful journey, which runs straight through "the dark night of the soul" (the "fields of dissolution"). It is not the road less traveled; it's the road rarely traveled. And perhaps for good reason. If you want to be mostly happy in a superficial way, it's best to conform and remain blissfully ignorant. I think of "To Find Me" as my symbolic "come-back" tune. Afer a long fallow period, one day, driving down the highway in March of 2014, the line "Had to leave the old state to find me," popped out. This one line marked the edge of renewal for me as a singer-songwriter.

7. I Went Searching
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

I Went Searching… for universal truth
I Went Searching… for universal truth
Glimpsed it hiding from non-abiding
Minds around the world
I Went Searching… for universal peace
I Went Searching… for universal peace
Found it missing… in those insisting
On fear and greed and war
I Went Searching… for universal grace
I Went Searching… for universal grace
Too few preachers, too few teachers
Standing with the Word
Peace be upon you who seek the Dark
Source of all Creation… the Mystery of ALL.
I Went Searching… for universal love
I Went Searching… for universal love
So much division… and disconnection
Keeping us from Wa
(Wa = Japanese for harmony, balance)
So much dissension... and disaffection
Keeping us from Wa
Wa, Wa, Wa
I Went Searching
I’ve been searching
I am searching
I’ll keep searching

Rusty - vocals, synth, 12-string electric guitars, bass, drum programming

Backstory: So as it appears next on the album, "I Went Searching" was the very next song written following "To Find Me." This song also picks up the thread of searching and finding, but in this case the quest is not for personal change, growth and discovery but for universal virtues. In my mind, these songs go together. When I finished "I Went Searching" about a month after "To Find Me," a wave of confidence swelled in me. "Yeah, I’m back!" I knew then that something was rolling, and it was going to be interesting. Also a bit interesting is that of the multiple guitar parts on the song, all are played on an electic 12-string guitar. And a final quirky story: I love discovering cool words from other languages. I was just wowed by the Japanese word Wa. So it ended up in "I Went Searching." I couldn't resist using a wah-wah pedal when the word comes along in the song. I dug out my old, dusty wah-wah pedal from the 60s that I hadn't used in years. Then I found out it was actually one of the first wah-wah pedals ever made. Shortly after recording this part, I sold it for $900. So somebody out there has my Wa wah-wah.

8. Eldorado
(lyrics: Edgar Allan Poe; music and additional lyrics by Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Gaily bedight, a gallant knight
In sunshine and in shadow
Had journeyed long, singing a song
In search of Eldorado
But he grew old, this knight so bold
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found no spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado
And as his strength failed him at length
He met a pilgrim shadow
Shadow, said he, where can it be
This land of Eldorado
Over the mountains of the moon
And down the valley of the shadow
Ride, boldly ride, the shade replied
If you seek for Eldorado
(Rusty's lyrics below:)
Brightly enlight, the wandering knight
Crossed the mountains and below
He never found that spot of ground
But he finally knew Eldorado
He never found that spot of ground
Inside is where hides Eldorado
Inside is where hides Eldorado
(back to Poe poem:)
Ride, boldly, ride

Rusty - vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, bass
Darin Watkins - drums

Backstory: In each of the three "poet songs" on Head to Heart, I am taking a different approach to co-writing. In "Eldorado," I'm continuing the story to reach an unexpected conclusion of the knight's quest. I loved this poem as a teenager so much I carried a carefully folded half sheet of paper with the words written out in blue fountain pen ink around in my wallet for over a decade. I memorized the poem, but still carried the little paper around just in case I ever forgot something. It survived three or four wallets, traveling with me to Houston and Nashville and L.A. until it was falling apart. But I think my interpretation of the poem was always counter to the more common reading. Most people seem think of it as a sad story; the shade is the shadow of death and the poor, hapless knight dies having spent his life on an absurd, immpossible quest. I always imagined that he did just as the shadow instructs, went over the mountains of the moon, and found Eldorado. I couldn't explain how he could get over the mountains of the moon; I just knew he did. Decades later I realized the answer. The mountains of the moon are in your mind. It's the obstacles, the peaks and valleys, of the mind that prevent us from finding happiness and meaning. There is no city of gold, but the self is its own citadel... and there awaits riches for the mind and heart. Inside is where hides Eldorao.

9. There is a Pleasure in the Pathless Woods
(lyrics: George Gordon Byron; music and additional lyrics by Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

There is a Pleasure in the Pathless Woods
There is a rapture on the lonely shore
There is society where none intrudes
By the deep sea, and music in its roar
I love not man the less but nature more
From these interviews in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before
To mingle with the universe... and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal
Roll on thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain
Man marks the Earth with ruin, yet his control
Stops with the shore... upon the watery plain
(Rusty's lyrics:)
So wrote the poet not long ago
His heart would be crushed if he were to know
That man's foolish greed has even taken the sea
The blue of the sky, and the starry night
So now the crossroads where we've arrived
Demands a choice of every soul alive
Do we continue down this road of ruin
Or mingle with the universal tune
That we can ne're express... yet easily can feel
(Back to Byron's poem:)
There is a Pleasure in the Pathless Woods
There is a rapture on the lonely shore
From all I may be, or have been before
To mingle with the universe... and feel

Rusty - vocals, electric guitar
Daniel Ribeiro - acoustic guitars, electric guitars, steel guitar, keyboards, bass, drums

Backstory: After writing "Sat Cit Ananda" and "Eldorado," I searched for a third "duet" with a long dead poet to go on Head to Heart. Again, it needed to be philosophical and/or spiritual, as well as another good story. I found what I was looking for with Lord Byron and his beloved classic, "There is a Pleasure in the Pathless Woods." I read this poem as a child, but unlike "Eldorado," it failed to impress. This poem is actually just a small part of a larger work of Byron's called "Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage." I guess it was too much for my young mind. At that age I didn't find anything that I particularly related to. Only much later when I became both environmentally mindful and spiritually aware did this poem grab my attention. My version includes only the first three stanzas of the small section of "Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage." After three stanzas from the poem, the song takes an unusual songwriting tact, as the perspective abruptly shifts from Byron to the singer as narrator, and setting leaps ahead 200 years. The poet and poem are referenced as the contemporary narrator sadly reflects on how wrong Byron turne out to be ("not long ago," in actual fact). Noting the dire ecological devastations that have occurred since Bryon's life that he would have scarcely believed were even possible (the loss of a pristine sea and even the dark of the night), the song then dovetails back into Byron's signature desire: to "mingle with the Universe," which is a deeply spiritual longing. Daniel Ribeiro's lilting acoustic guitars, forlorn steel guitar, moog snyth and mellotron comprise an aural match to the mystically melancholy lyrics.

10. Sat Cit Ananda
(lyrics: traditional: The Moola Mantra, additional lyrics by Rusty Reid & Leeza Edwards; music by Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Om (Highest Energy/Primordial Sound)
Sat Cit Ananda (Sat: From emptiness being; Cit: full consciousness; Ananda: Bliss/Love/Joy)
Parabrahma (supreme creator, Source)
Purushothama (guiding deity/force in human form/the Supreme Soul in us)
Paramatma (who speaks to us as inner voice)
Sri Bhagavathi (Divine Mother)
Sametha (together within)
Sri Bhagavathe (Divine Father)
Namaha (thank you and guide me)
(Rusty's lyrics:)
Om, the Beginning, primordial tone
Sound of Creation where spirit is sown
Lover come lie with me, Lover come fly with me
Lover arise with me… to see the jewels of light
Om, the Eternal, this moment in peace
Blessed receiver, in Oneness release
Lover come dream with me, Lover delight with me
Lover descend with me… to see the pearls of night
Lover, come chant with me, Lover come dance with me
Lover come bring to me the sea, the sun, the world
(Back to the Moola Mantra:)
Om Sat Cit Ananda, Parabrahma
Om Sat Cit Ananda, sametha
Om Sat Cit Ananda, namaha

Rusty - vocals, synth, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, keyboard sitar, bass
Yatziv Caspi - Indian percussion, drums
Lakshmi Ennappaadam - vocals

Backstory: Speaking of mingling with the Universe, "Sat Cit Ananda" is all about that. I first encountered the phrase from the writings of Joseph Campbell in the 1970s, and long harbored the desire to write a song around the concept. I have a soft spot for India. I like Indians. I like Indian food, Indian humor, Indian music, Indian movies, Indian history - Ashoka is one of my heroes - and, especially, I like Indian spiritual philosophy. I don't know why I never attempted to write something India-inspired before. Somehow that never happened, until a spiritual friend suggested we write a song together. With the theme of satcitananda in mind, I asked her to throw together specific words she would like to add to the song. Then I went in search of more information on "Sat Cit Ananda," and discovered the "Moola Mantra." No one seems to know where the Moola came from, but it has been put to music many times. I discovered that there were at least a handful of musical intepretations. I intentionally didn't listen to any of them because I didn't want my version to be influenced by them. Of course, from the get-go I knew my version was going to include more than just the Moola, so in that way it would stand out from other songs which featured just the original words. The concept of Sat Cit Ananda - being, consciousness, bliss - captures the spiritual journey. To me this song is spiritual, not religious; the various deities mentioned in the Moola can be taken, more beneficially, I think, as symbolic aspects of natural diversity in their different ways facilitating connection to the ultimate Oneness of all. In this version of the Moola Mantra, I veer off from the original Sanskrit verses of acknowledgement and thanksgiving into English choruses and bridges espousing Universe-loving rapture. Who is the lover? The Universe itself. "Sat Cit Ananda" is the longest song on the album, probably the most ambitious, and the last recording finalized for the album. I think this song features some of my best acoustic guitar playing. And I was over the moon to get Yatziv and Lakshmi to join in on the fun.

11. Your Tummy
(music & lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Yo, what you doin' with that bloody shit
In Your Tummy, dummy?
You're the dupe and the stupe of killers
Sucking your soul and your money
How do it feel to be so unreal
On that evil wheel
To your next meal?
You a clone and a drone
Dining in the bone zone
Better disown and atone
Yo, what you doin' with that bloody shit
In Your Tummy, dummy?
You're the dupe and the stupe of killers
Sucking your soul and your money

Rusty - vocals, beats

Backstory: This little ditty came to be immediately after I finished a non-Head to Heart song called "Rap Manifesto," which makes good use of beat loops. I had the idea that I wanted some kind of lead-in for "Passion or Fashion," so since I had just been jamming with beats for awhile, I decided to just do a short rap, and this is what emerged. I think it's a pretty sharp little dagger.

12. Passion or Fashion
(music by Steven Beasley, lyrics by Rusty Reid & Steven Beasley)
Copyright Branngg Music (BMI), Rio Paso Music (BMI)

So it's finally come to this
Do I have to shake my fist
In your vacant face
Does taste mean more to you
Than rising up into
A higher plane of Grace
Passion or Fashion, Passion or Fashion
That fur coat you're slipping on
Screams that you are so far gone
From compassion's hold
And that steak upon your plate
Bleeds the truth about your state
Simply fool's gold.
Passion or Fashion
(Which of these apply to you?)
Passion or Fashion
(Which can you afford to lose?)
Say you're an animal lover, I'm blowing your cover
Too bad if it brings you down
Let's see you walk it, the way that you talk it
If you can't do that, I'm calling you out
It's high time we saw the light
The holocaust in every bite
Of murdered kin
Don't speak of peace and love
When you're chewing on the dove
And awash in sin
Say you're an animal lover, as you're eating another
Mindless and heartless clowns
Why don't you step into virtue, for them and for you, too
If you can't do that, I'm calling you out... yeah
Aye-yi, aye-yi
Say you're an animal lover
Aye-yi, aye-yi
I say you're a liar
Aye-yi, aye-yi
Step into virtue
Aye-yi, aye-yi
For them and for you, too

Rusty - vocals, electric guitars
Steven Beasley - acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass, drums, background vocals

Backstory: My Houston buddy Steven Beasley wrote the original version of "Passion or Fashion" in the late 1980s after we both had moved to Los Angeles. I immediately liked Steve's song, especially the signature guitar riff; I'm a real sucker for those. I wasn't crazy about the subject matter, so a few months later I asked Steve if I could re-write the lyrics into an animal rights song. He's an animal lover, so he said, "Sure, give it a shot." So I re-wrote the song, keeping a few of Steve's lines. But then the song was stashed away without ever being recorded. When putting together the songs for Head to Heart, I thought "Passion or Fashion" would be a perfect addition, so I went looking for those lyrics... and could not find them anywhere. I had to re-re-write the song! That loss turned out to be one of those serendipitous situations where something seemingly bad turns into a blessing. This version is much better than what I remember from the earlier re-write. Then came a snafu in recording. Of course, I asked Steve to play on his own song, so I sent him my version, which included two separate bridges. I specifically pointed out this big change from his version. Sure enough, Steve sent back his tracks, which included drums and bass and great guitar parts, but only one bridge. His retort was, "Well, that should be an easy fix on your computer program." Easy fix? Adding another bridge smack in the middle of a song is definitely not an easy fix, especially when the first bridge comes out of a chorus and into a verse and the second bridge does the opposite. Somehow I managed to do it, and so allows perhaps the song's quintessential line: "Don't speak of peace and love when you're chewing on the dove." Really, people. How long before you do the right thing?

13. Who Do You Think You Are
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

She's your mother, daughter, sister... she's your wife
She gives you love, she gives you purpose, she gives you life
But oh how the goddess will fall
When the god in the boy is installed
Who Do You Think You Are?
To treat her that way
Who Do You Think You Are?
From the Iron Age, from the iron-head, iron-fisted rule
It's the law of God and nature, say patriarchy's fools
And so she's original sin
Her punishment shall never end
Who Do You Think You Are?
To treat her that way
Who Do You Think You Are?
From the bloodstained pages of history
There have been few greater crimes
(maybe the desecration of the rest of nature)
Than the subjugation of half the human family
Half of our whole, half of our soul
By the half that are out of their minds
Sharp and subtle domination, a legacy of fear
You're the stronger, she's the weaker, all vanity and tears
It's still a dark age for women and girls
But the meek will inherit the world
Who Do You Think You Are?
To treat her that way
Who Do You Think You Are?

Rusty - vocals, acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass, drum programming

Backstory: It would seem that this song might have been inspired by the #MeToo movement. But it was written and originally recorded in August of 1992 at my Hawthorne, California house affectionately dubbed the “Hobbit Hole.” Yes, the same Hawthorne that was home to the Beach Boys (and Emitt Rhodes). The stereo drums remain from that original 8-track recording. The vocals, acoustic guitars (1969 Rich B-38 on the left channel; right channel, Martin J-40), bass and synth were added in October 2017. I had been critically mulling the concepts of male advantage and privilege, sexist behavior and oppression of women for some time, and then a lady and her young daughter came into my life, and this song flowed out from that environment and experience.

14. Dark Ages
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Slowly but surely we're gaining momentum
Free thinkers rising, more every day
The light at the end of the tunnel is shining
Spirituality is its own way
We're waking up from religion's spell
Truth breaking out of delusion's veil
Let no more myths divide us again
Let's come together without and within
No more Dark Ages
No more Dark Ages
Many times upon a time a teacher has come
To help us move a little further down this long lonely road
It doesn't take long before their spirit's abducted
And twisted to forms they wouldn't have known
We've heard the legends of the promised land
We've felt the brunt of their heavy hand
We've seen them traffic in anger and blame
Hypocrisy fanning the flames
No more Dark Ages
No more Dark Ages
It never fails when religion leads the way
The lights of truth and love and liberty fade
It's happening today... ooh-ooh-ooh
All around the world and far into the past
The victims of religion cry a river of tears
Unquestioned superstition brought darkness upon us
We're only now escaping after thousands of years
No more denying evolution's role
No more claiming an immortal soul
No savior coming to bail us out
No needy gods to worry about
No more Dark Ages
No more Dark Ages

Rusty - vocals, electric guitars, organ
Steven Beasley - acoustic guitar, bass, drums, tambourine

Backstory: "Dark Ages" was written in November 1986, just a month after "Too Many Poor." Steve Beasley and I recorded it at Steve’s San Fernando Valley apartment shortly thereafter on a 4-track cassette recorder. So you can imagine the awesome sound quality of that one! Yet, it was actually a pretty cool recording. I liked it. “The lyrics were somewhat different from this version. I wrote it originally as the Religious Right was rising during the Reagan years, televangelists were on every channel raking in the cash, and fundamentalism was surging. It was alarming for those of us who believe in strict separation of church and state and are highly dubious as to the actual positive contributions of religion in general amidst the all too apparent negatives. Yet as televangelists began sequentially disgracing themselves through scandal, and surveys suggested that religion, as a whole, in the modern world was losing influence and power, the song didn’t seem quite on target any longer. For this album, I decided to re-orient it from a contrasting perspective. Instead of religion gaining members and power, now the number of "free-thinkers" is surging. Perhaps the most important concept in the song is that true spirituality does not need religion, indeed religion thwarts real spirituality (love for the Universe). "Spirituality is its own way," may be the most profound single line I ever wrote. But we are still faced with the great divisions that religion creates and maintains, as well as as the dogma and superstitions that all the religions promote, and which are actually impediments to deeper spirituality. We haven’t entirely escaped the Dark Ages yet.” "Dark Ages" was the next-to last last song recorded for Head to Heart ('Sat Cit Ananda' being the last actually finished). I wanted "Dark Ages" on the album, though I knew it would likely be the one song that would cause the most consternation. “I asked Steve if he wanted to record it again, envisioning pretty much the same old arrangement, The tracks he sent were pretty true to that old recording, but then I started messing with it. I had just aquired a 1966 Gretsch Tennessean (featured on the album cover), and it decided to turn the song into something out of a spaghetti western.”

15. Too Many Poor
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

I take a look and I don't like what I see
All around the world such disparity
We're all divided by no more than luck of the draw
A few with everything, the rest with nothing at all
And I've decided... Too Many Poor
And too much in too few hands
Yeah there are Too Many Poor
And too much in too few hands
What are we going to do?
It's the sickness of, it's the power of greed
That makes a child of God covet more than he needs
While a brother suffers hunger and pain
Wondering ever will his circumstance change
How do we dare call ourselves civilization
And turn away from the un-united nations
Of the poor
Too Many Poor
And too much in too few hands
Yeah there are Too Many Poor
Don't you agree
And too much in too few hands

Rusty - vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, keyboards, bass, drum programming

Backstory: "Too Many Poor" is the oldest song on the album, as well as, by far, the oldest recording. The song was written in late 1986. It was a re-write of an Unreasonables era song called "Too Many Girls," which I would have to say was one of my worst-ever songs lyrically, just stupid, but it had a good melody and nice guitar parts. The recording of the repurposed "Too Many Poor" was completed on a home 8-track machine in early 1987 when I lived in Manhattan Beach, a suburb of Los Angeles. Yep, you are hearing the 34-year old me here, singing and playing. As New Wave was fading and Grunge was still yet to break, this is what I was doing. "Too Many Poor" was scheduled to be included on my first album, NWXSW, along with its short melodic theme leading off the album, as they do on Head to Heart. But at the last minute he pulled it off. I just didn't think the recording was good enough for the album. This time around I considered re-recording it... with a reggae band. But I’ve actually always loved this recording. I used to roll down the streets of L.A. with this song blasting from the cassette player. It’s obviously not a polished sound; it contains just seven tracks (including lead and harmony vocals on the same track and mono drums... the 8th track was devoted to drum track impulse signal), but I still think it’s one of my most interesting songs, thematically, lyrically and musically. In the end, I thought, I don’t care if it’s a bit rough, this song, this recording, needs to be on this album. So here it is. It’s obviously an important subject. After our war on nature and impending ecological catastrophe, disparity of wealth may be the next biggest problem that humanity faces. The vast majority of American families live paycheck-to-paycheck; they have life savings of less than $10,000; these folks are one injury, illness, layoff, or some other unexpected crisis from financial catastrophe. The other side of that same coin is we also have far too much wealth accruing to a tiny cadre of the super wealthy. The upper one tenth of one percent of the wealthy control more assets than the bottom half of the human population. That's absurd, insane, totally immoral and utterly toxic. Research shows that such disparity is highly corrosive to society. It's a slap in the face of the average person, much less the poor. Low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, drug use, crime, social turbulence all accompany rising disparity of wealth. The only question is what are we going to do about these twin absurdities? The guitar parts at the end I call the ‘Gretsch-Stratocaster Pas de Deux.’ The Country Gentleman (right channel) and Strat (left channel) seem to dance with each other. Fittingly, these four old California songs appear back-to-back-to-back-to-back on Head to Heart.

16. Dismaland
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
(Inspired by Banksy)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

The storm is underway
We’re running out of time
Pirates sail the ship of state
Legalizing crime
What once was paradise
Somehow the human race
Dismembered and despoiled into
The saddest place in space
Daygloom is upon us
Trepidation haunts the night
Conservatives hold the upper hand
Welcome to… Dismaland
Truth is on the run
While billions follow lies
Democracy perverted by
Traitors in disguise
The stench of greed permeates
The heating atmosphere
Refugees flee the blight
While species disappear
Prisons overflowing
Injustice on the prowl
Hope hangs by a tiny strand
Welcome to… Dismaland
We are better than this
We can turn it around
See deep into the abyss
Then rise up! (Rise up!)
Stand your own ground
Believe these are our rights
This fight belongs to you and to me
Any day we all unite
(Unite! Unite! Unite!)
That's the day we set the world free
Raping of the sea
Burning down the land
Animals slake our bloodlust
Moral contraband
Souls adrift in screens
Malaise and discontent
Diversions and divisions keep us
Safely servient
Banality ascendant
Debauched technology
Corporations in command
This is their… Dismaland
Hope hangs by a tiny strand
Welcome to… Dismaland
How do you like… Dismaland?

Rusty - vocals, electric guitars, sound effects
Daniel Ribeiro - acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass
Brandon Davis - drums

Backstory: Head to Heart segues from the oldest song to the newest song. "Dismaland" was written in October 2017, the last song to be written for Head to Heart, and recorded early in 2018. The moment I saw a film of Banksy’s Dismaland Bemusement Park, I knew I had to write a song along those lines. I wanted the song to reflect the dystopia of Banksy's project, but also fill it with the actual entities and personalities who are currently making the world far worse than it should be. After writing the verses, I thought that the misery needed some relief, a little interlude of optimism, and so the bridge emerged. I had just seen the touring company of "Hamilton" in Seattle, and the line "Rise Up!" is a little homage to the play. Once again, Daniel Ribeiro came through with a haunting background, and Brandon Davis added a great drum track.

17. Another Way
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid & Jon Stone)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI), Ayre Music (ASCAP)

What is life but time
Specks of time amidst eternal shadow
What are we but flame
Tiny flames that flicker out tomorrow
The years so quickly pass
Like mist upon the early morning meadow
Rise and greet the day,
Amazing Grace, blessings overflow - whoa
Wonder how the world would be if everyone could see
Into eternity and find themselves
Five thousand years of strife
And greed and fear upon this precious jewel
Can we flip the script
And show we know love is meant to rule
Wonder how the world would be if everyone could feel
That everything is real, infused with God
Even stars must die
There's no soul to be lost or saved
Heaven's here on Earth
And maybe we will find Another Way
Heaven's here on Earth
And people will find Another Way
Another Way
Another Way

Rusty - vocals, electric guitars, piano
Matt Griffith - acoustic guitars, mandolin, background vocals
Tim Hull - electric guitar
Tim Denbo - bass
Olajuwon Jackson - drums

Backstory: I said "Too Many Poor" is the oldest song on the album. Technically that's not correct; it's the oldest song that still exists much as it was written. "Another Way" originally came into the world 14 years earlier, in June 1973, as two young songwriters, myself and Jon Stone, huddled in a cramped gas station office in Midland, Texas. The melody survives intact from that humble (no pun intended, actually it was a Texaco) origin, but only a few lyrics remain, and the theme has been changed entirely. I always liked the melody, loved the title, but knew there was something important there that was missing. The original song was thematically, lyrically off the mark. In the Spring of 2014, I took a crack at re-tooling it to address the human condition amidst the glory of the Universe. Following six blistering social commentaries, "Another Way" closes the album, returning to the project's early optimism, mysticism and spirituality. The final word from Head to Heart is “People will find another way.” Another way of being in the world is what this album is all about.

18. Head to Heart Coda
(music and lyrics: Rusty Reid)
Copyright Rio Paso Music (BMI)

Backstory: Unlisted on the CD cover track list, "Head to Heart Coda" emerges as the surprise ending to the album. All through the process of creating the album, I was mulling which song should be the final song. I've always felt that the first and last songs on an album should be there for a reason. At some point I decided "Another Way" should be the last song. It has just the right theme and mood; it reorients us to a positive mindset after confronting a good deal of negativity, and I like the way its last note rings to finality. I also had been thinking it would be fun to get some kind of 60s-era musical gimmicks on the album. One of the fun things about listening to albums back then was being on alert for quirky elements showing up somewhere along the way. The Beatles did this a lot. As it turned out, the track list comprised almost the max amount of time that a standard CD can accommodate, about 78 minutes, so that eliminated some of the possibilities I was considering. As I was mixing "Another Way," I was thinking the instrumentation on this song is really special; it's too bad the vocals cover up much of it. That's when I landed on the idea of combining a Beatles-like reverse tape collage with a truncated instrumental version of the song. So the fade-out of that last note ends up not being so final after all, coming right back in reverse on the coda, which then goes into the short instrumental, which then fades into the reverse tape that finally ends with the backwards "whap-whap" that, actually, is the two snare hits that start the song. So these effects are a little 'thank you' to music of the 60s.

All songs Copyright © 2019 Rio Paso Music (BMI)
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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