A Sunday afternoon in May: In a few minutes, a college-aged violin player named Kelly will show up at Blair Dewane’s house and the two will see if they have any musical chemistry together. This is the transitional phase Dewane’s Vegas-based band, Rusty Maples, finds itself in. Cellist Courtney Waldron, whose strings have been central in defining the band’s sound until now, is on her way to the University of Texas to earn a master’s in economics.
Dewane has been expecting this day to come; he just didn’t know when. Rusty Maples’ frontman is flirting with the idea of bringing in string players for live shows, but nothing is set in stone. In fact, the band could very well forego the strings and stick to a more traditional two guitar-plus-rhythm section lineup. “It’s gonna f*ck with the sound that we’ve worked with,” Dewane concedes, “but we’re not scared of not having a cellist. We’re excited about focusing more on the energy that our music brings than the melodies that the cello compensated for.”
Waldron hopes she’s left a more indelible mark than that. “I’ve always strived to make the cello an integral part of the music and not just a gimmick for the band’s image,” she says. “If I have really succeeded at that, then they will have to find other string players or musicians to play those parts.”