Norwegian-American singer Signe Marie Rustad was raised on a farm in central Norway, but a piece of her heart was always in the United States.
"My mom is American, so I've always felt a strong connection to the U.S. The title track of my debut album Golden Town (2012) is a direct reference to the small town of Golden, Colorado, where she grew up, which feels like my second home," Rustad tells Wide Open Country. "When I toured Colorado in 2013, to promote my debut, it just felt very natural and right to me. I guess I feel like a part of me belongs there, and that my music does too."
Rustad's latest release "Die With Your Boots On," which Wide Open Country is premiering today, is a piano-driven ballad that would've sounded right at home on '70s AM radio between hits by Joni Mitchell and Carole King.
"This damn concrete desert, where I don't fit in," Rustad sings. "I guess the best music don't come from easy livin'."
Rustad says the song, from her forthcoming album When Words Flew Freely (out on Nov. 1), is about the healing power of music.
"'Die With Your Boots On' is about the power of music; how music can be a channel to re-connect with yourself, and how it has the power to heal. 'So the night came with darkness, but there's plenty of light in a pure, golden, heartfelt voice that breaks the ice': I'm trying to describe the magic that can happen when you're in the audience at a concert, or just someplace where music is being played - and maybe you're going through a rough time - and then a voice, an instrument, the words of a song or just something that you can't quite pinpoint in what you are hearing grounds your feet, centers you and truly makes you feel like everything is going to be OK," Rustad says.
Rustad says she penned the song while recovering from a frustrating bout of writer's block.
"My booking team, (and also promoters and DJs) Die With Your Boots On, was celebrating its 5 year anniversary, and I was to play at the event. I hadn't been writing the past 3 years, but I felt like I wanted to do something special to thank them for all the great music they'd brought on to stages and played during their DJ-sets around Oslo. So, I was sitting on my couch at home with the guitar in my lap, looking out of the window, and the lyrics and music just kind of started flowing out like the most natural thing," Rustad says. "It felt like I was able to connect with how I felt for the first time in 3 years and turn it into something positive. The chorus says 'strung out, but hopeful,' and that was exactly how I felt. There is love in those lyrics, but more so, there is hope. I kept playing it over and over, just because the words and the swing of the chorus made me feel good. By the time I played the song live with my band at the gig, even though I announced it as a one-off performance, I knew the song already meant too much to me personally to just leave it with that."
For more information on Signe Marie Rustad, visit her official website.