The Karen Rush Band
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The Karen Rush Band

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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Karen Rush writes catchy (dare I say unforgettable?) rock songs, and sings them in a rich mezzo that's unlike any other voice you've heard. Her brilliantly-produced EP has a strong pop flavor, while her live band rocks much harder...-June 2000 - Jon Sobel

This CD is one of those golden nuggets that you stumble across and suddelnly you find you're rich. Karen's vocals are fearless, beautiful and expressive. She can stir your deepest emotions with but an ah or an ooh. She commands a wonderful gift. The arrangements have an openness that give Rush room to work her vocal prowess. The lyrical ideas are refreshingly original: let me love you tomorrrow because today I can't stay still... Highly recommended, hit her website and order this EP. -April 2000 - Allen Foster

180° is an excellent demo on all fronts. It is actually album quality in every way, and would stand up nicely against most of the female balladry in Top 40 rotation today. Blending acoustic guitar with synthesizer and/or electric guitar, the songs fit into a consistent melodic style that ranges from plaintive but not wimpy tales of incomplete (i.e., unrequited, failed, etc.) love to light dance music numbers. Love You Tomorrow is a light rocker about the man she wants and features a distinctive, throaty warble that may become Rush's signature, along with her ascending yodel. Rush also displays excellent diversity in her voice, at once the truculent kid and the knowing woman in the course of a line or verse, as on The Fool. Lost Again is a gritty, mid-tempo rocker as if Sheryl Crow were experimenting with R&B vocal stylings. This demo practically screams for major label release.June 15-28, 1999 - Peter Kuehbauch

Eystone is an interesting name for a band; it kind of plays with your eyes and makes you think it should be something else. Their music is certainly clear enough though, of that I am certain. They never come Up For Air on eleven tracks during their new CD.

The focal point of their sound is lead singer Karen Rush, who most of the time sounds like a young pumped up Stevie Nicks. Not a bad comparison If I do say so myself.

This album is about, what else? Love and relationships, after all what are we without that? We would all be hollow shells with no emotion if we could not relate to another human being. There is a different side to every story and that is never more evident on the across the board feelings portrayed on tracks such as “Never Enough” and “Out of My System.” Then there is always the “Other Side” of life to evaluate. Whatever it is Rush is singing about, it can come across as a pensive snarl or a tender touch all at the same time, if that makes any sense. Of course, it would be unfair to put all the focus on the singer, what would she have to do without great music to back her? She has a wealth of talent behind her voice provided by Pete Rizzo (percussion), John Messenger (bass/vocals) and Victor Munoz (guitar/vocals).

This is music with an edge and the vocals of Karen Rush are what make it so emotional and intimate. Whatever mood you happen to be in now, this music will find a way to fit into your head and make sense. The one thing that does make perfect sense about all of this is that this music is very good and something you should pay attention to. It is top shelf rock-pop.

1. Never Enough (3:36)
2. Maybe… (3:42)
3. The One (Angels) (4:50)
4. Out Of My System (5:26)
5. Strangest Of Changes (3:50)
6. Versus (4:03)
7. Seamus (4:59)
8. On The Inside (3:26)
9. Unusual (3:39)
10. Up For Air (6:32)
11. Other Side (3:37)

- Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

Music Writer

In the eternal quest for an original band name, one group of musicians found inspiration in a partially burned-out neon sign.

The band is Eystone, which is pronounced "Eye Stone" or "I Stone" rather than "E-Stone," even though, when the band's publicist spells the name, she says, "Eystone like keystone without the 'k.'"

The sign that inspired the name, however, was for Hotel Greystone, with the "G" and the "R" burned out. But so far, nobody has mispronounced the name as "A-Stone." Hotel Greystone can be found on 91st Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. The members of Eystone simply liked the burned-out sign and wanted a band name with some connection to the city, even though the rhythm section bassist John Messenger and drummer Pete Rizzo -- is from New Jersey. The eye-catching neon sign can also be found on the back of Eystone's debut CD, the self-released "Up For Air."

The band known as Eystone plays a CD release party at The Saint in Asbury Park tomorrow.
Eystone is fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist Karen Rush. The band's lead guitarist is Victor Munoz. Along with Messenger and Rizzo, the band makes rock-pop music that sounds like fleshed-out acoustic music. Rush's voice, which sometimes sound like Tori Amos, is front and center, but her bandmates weave in and out, making any given song more bluesy or folky.

Since Eystone was formed in 2001, the musicians have written original songs together and also re-worked songs that Rush wrote for her solo shows and for her previous band, The Karen Rush Band. Messenger, too, has brought seeds of songs from his earlier bands.

"The song 'Maybe' on our CD came from a band I played with a long time ago, but it had different lyrics and a different feel," Messenger said.

Messenger, who lives in Milltown, grew up in Toms River with Rizzo, who invited Messenger to join the fledgling band. Messenger studied music education at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School Of The Arts and currently teaches music in the Metuchen school system.

"In a perfect world, I would be able to play and get paid for it, so that's the dream," Messenger said, "but I also enjoy teaching -- I like giving back."

Messenger offers his own take on Jack Black's "School of Rock," offering interested fifth- and sixth-graders lessons on electric instruments. The repertoire runs the gamut from classic rock songs like "Smoke on the Water" to modern faves like the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."

Messenger has even played with Eystone at a benefit show at Metuchen High School. Some of his students were in the audience. No doubt his hipster credibility increased after rocking out in front of the kids, but all Messenger will say is, "Yeah, I think they were blown away seeing a teacher in a different setting."

- Asbury Park Press 3/19/04

April 1, 2004

Eystone, Up for Air (© 2004 Layzeye Music)

Well, the first thing that hits you about this disc is the versatility of Karen Rush's vocals. There is a lot of mediocrity out there, a lot of nasally singers, but Rush has the depth and projection of a real vocalist. On "The One (angels)," she is soft and demure, yet still possesses a strength that rises above so many pop princesses. And on "Up For Air," a six-and-a-half-minute number (holy '70s Batman!), she shows a brashness, a toughness that would cut through any roadhouse and snap heads to attention. Another aspect worthy of mention is the smoking guitar work of Victor Munoz, who weaves in blues licks, Allman-like slides, and beefs up the disc in general. "Maybe" showcases both band members' talents. And that's not to say that bassist John Messenger or drummer Pete Rizzo are slouches; they keep time steady and solid. Though the first two numbers are rather dark, the rest of the disc travels down various roads, showing the band is adept in many ways. The end result is a well-balanced disc from a promising band. - Bill Ribas, Street Beat

An eclipse of love songs and heartache, Eystone puts forth a challenging, self-produced debut album full of subtle, sexual tension and emotionally charged anger.

In "Up For Air", a full breath is taken before lightening bolts dagger out of lead singer Karen Rush's vocals, only to come off the adrenaline high to a kitten-like purr as she sings caressing melodies. Each song is like a compromise between two lovers, trying to find a comfortable middle to suit both parties. Rush's singing is so passionate, and mind-blowing, every hardcore emotion is felt as she sings. If she's angry in a song you can feel it. If she's overcome with happiness, you know it.

The directional pull in this CD is like a compass spinning without any intentions of stopping. It's a continuous flow of rock with the perfect blend of harmonic melodies sure to please any rock fan looking to discover one incredible band!

Hit Picks: "Never Enough" and "The One (Angels)" - Heather Corcoran, GoGirlsMusic

CD Baby artist, Eystone, was featured nationally by Fox Magazine in a piece which takes a look at the evolving indie music scene.

"Our primary source for distribution is CD Baby," according to Eystone lead singer, Karen Rush. The band was selected by host, Mike Straka, who attended the release party for their debut CD, "Up for Air" at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ.

Focusing on the rising popularity of independent music through utilization of the internet for promotion and distribution, Straka also investigates the growth of home recording studios through, "affordable audio software designed for a Mac or PC".

Veterans of the east coast indie scene, Eystone were selected for the high caliber production on their self-recorded album.

"Protools and Photoshop and you're good to go," according to drummer and producer, Pete Rizzo.

Bassist John Messenger, however is quick to add, "as long as you can back it up".

The segment entitled, "StrakaVision: The Indie Music Scene with band Eystone" can now be viewed online at:,2933,116898,00.html

Eystone's debut, "Up for Air" is available on CD Baby ->

You can also check out singles from the album busy making tracks on Garageband:

"The One" (Angels) was voted "Track of the Day" on December 28, 2004 in the indie rock for "Best Female Vocals in Indie Rock"

For the week of December 13, 2004 they were voted
"Best Female Vocals in Indie Rock"

For the week of December 20, 2004 they were voted "Grooviest Rhythm in Indie Rock"

Their song "Strangest of Changes" was voted "Track of the Day" on January 10, 2004 in the alternative pop category.

They also won "Best Female Vocals in Alternative Pop" and "Best Love Song in Alternative Pop" for the week of January 10, 2004.

Their song "Strangest of Changes" was voted "Track of the day in Alternative Pop" for the week of January 3, 2005.

Discover Eystone for yourselves at

Check out Eystone's "Up For Air" on CD Baby at

- CD Baby

Review - "Up For Air"
Stacey Board - 05/24/04

The songs are engaging and interesting in a melodic moody Dawson’s Creek way, and in fact they would be a great bet for many of the WB shows that tend to find ‘unsung’ indie music right now.

If I am interpreting the website correctly, “eystone” is the vehicle for Karen Rush’s songwriting. Her songwriting is interesting and very well supported by her band, and by Victor Munoz in particular. His guitarwork adds a great deal. The songs are not most people’s clichéd idea of female songwriting. Rush can deliver a melodic ballad and a rocker just as well as anyone.

Rush is a talented songwriter with a very solid band in Eystone. “Up For Air” shows off her songwriting talent and the band’s solid playing.
- The Muse's Muse


EYSTONE - "Up For Air" (LayZeye Music - 2004)
"Strangest of Changes" - Single on Shut Eye Records 'Buzzlighter - My Morning Ritual' (2003)
Karen Rush - "180 Degrees" (EP) 1998




When Karen Rush moved to Los Angeles in 2005, she left behind one of New York's most popular indie bands, Eystone. Having recently released their debut CD, Up For Air, Karen's band was taking the New York club scene by storm performing in such notable venues as Arlene's Grocery, Hard Rock Cafe, CB's Gallery as well as The Saint and Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. They were featured on Fox Magazine in a story on independent music, appeared on local news show, "Jersey's Talking" and Karen even took a crack at singing a capella for American Idol judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson live on Fox News. But professional commitments led Rush and Eystone's producer/drummer, Pete Rizzo out west.

After getting settled in, the two turned to the task of assembling a new line up. Several months later after countless online ads, the duo found bassist Nate Morefield. The three immediately clicked and began working on new material. The final element fell into place when they were joined by Canadian-born guitarist, Ryan Adams.

Stay tuned...