Ruston Kelly



Ruston Kelly writes and performs the kinds of songs that inspire novels and movies. You could call him a bastard disciple of Kurt Cobain and Townes Van Zandt, and he’d be totally cool with that. He’s just as comfortable wearing a cowboy hat as he is in a Slayer t-shirt. His story so far twists and turns through heartbreak and triumph, an overdose and rehab, empty dive bars and packed venues, living everywhere from South Carolina to Brussels, and as he puts it, “finally getting my shit together and proposing to the love of my life.” It’s this unbelievable experience that informs his singular style—a gravelly patchwork of folk lyricism, grunge attitude, country heart, Americana spirit, and rock energy. Not only has he penned songs for Tim McGraw (“Nashville Without You”), Josh Abbott Band (“Front Row Seat”), and more, but his independent solo debut EP Halloween earned acclaim from KCRW, Consequence of Sound, RELIX, Apple Music, and more. “Poison” racked up over 516K Spotify streams, while “Black Magic” soundtracked the Season Finale of the CBS series Scorpion. Signing to Washington Square Music / Razor & Tie and gearing up to record his full-length debut in 2017, Ruston holds nothing back.



Newport Festivals Foundation has made a donation on behalf of Ruston to purchase new instruments for Face The Music's Grace Note Project – a music-centric program that provides musicians newly in recovery a vehicle to give back. The project is to teach gratitude and recognize the gift of music and how using it for good helps heal those performing along with those who are experiencing the music.

Quote from Ruston Kelly

The Grace Notes Project immediately attracted me because anytime someone learns how to have gratitude after self-abuse and destruction, in a way that creates joy for others and of self, it is a ripple effect in the world. I’m honored to be a part of this especially since some of these facilities go unnoticed; performing through new eyes and giving that joy to ones who need it most heals the giver and the receiver.

Quote from Naomi Fabricant Executive Director

Dear Ruston and Newport Festivals, you contacting me and donating to Grace Notes through Face The Music, leaves me speechless to find the right words to express my gratitude. So, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. The money will be put to good use getting more instruments so that we can encourage, engage and support more recovering addicts in their efforts to give back and play music to those who might otherwise be forgotten. Again I thank you. Best and warmest regards.