Into the light

Brendon Ritter Lund

"When I started playing my own songs, it was nerve-wracking," says Brendon Ritter Lund.

"When I started playing my own songs, it was nerve-wracking," says Brendon Ritter Lund.

Photo/Eric Marks

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Brendon Ritter Lund has been a staple musician in the local scene for a while. Dating back to his early college days in the punk band Reality Remains, to the later years on bass and backing vocals in the alt-country outfit Humble Bee, to most recently playing bass and backing vocals for folk troubadours Buster Blue—Lund has been a solid co-writer and backing musician.

Along with acting as support onstage, he’s also backed countless performances as a sound technician. Lund, who held the title of sound and art director while attending the University of Nevada, Reno, was in charge of the soundboard at Brewery Arts Center in Carson City, and also had a gig handling the controls at the Knitting Factory for a beat. But despite always being a backbone to the bands he played in, Lund’s own voice has gone relatively unheard all this time.

So the question has remained: What does Lund have to say for himself? The modest, unassuming musician is finally letting us know, and as it turns out, it’s quite the mouthful.

Lund’s songs aren’t your typical aching heart wails about a romantic relationship in the gutter. The psychology major takes a much more philosophical approach with his lyrics.

“I started out writing about musings of reality and coming to terms with being a consciousness in the world around us, and what it means to be that and what it means to eventually lose that—life and death, I guess,” Lund said.

A good example is one of Lund’s first songs, which he wrote almost 10 years ago, but has only recently taken out into the stage light: “Yesterday’s Paint.”

“It’s about the act of becoming and losing what you were,” Lund explains. “Yesterday’s paint is the past, and how that looks to us from the present.”

The chorus of the song drives home the message: "Yesterday's paint dries on the easel/A self portrait that lingers like a bad trip coming on when you least expect it/Every curve and line brings back the time we had/And what we lost along the way."

Aside from the abstract, Lund does dabble in the relationship tune or two, but it’s not in the sense one would typically attribute to a singer/songwriter. Two of Lund’s recent tracks, “Come Clean” and “Get on Your Way,” involve his relationship between himself and his inner demons, the most prominent being alcohol—a relationship he recently ended after it caused him to get taken off Buster Blue’s fall tour.

“I wrote both of those [songs] right after I had the fallout with Buster Blue, and I was stewing in my own negativity—it definitely knocked me in a different direction and woke me up,” Lund said. “I wrote them thinking about dealing with what alcohol had meant to me in the past, and my struggles with that. Alcohol had become this escapist type thing—but music is too. And I’m definitely an escapist. You just find your ways, some worse than others.”

As Lund said, alcohol and his journey with it is bittersweet. It may have been a demon to battle over the years, but through quitting it and searching for a way to heal, he finally found his way to the spotlight—solo.

“It’s been cathartic for me,” Lund said. “When I started playing my own songs, it was nerve-wracking, but performing is where the meditative aspect comes in because you get transported to this different place, and then to have your own songs and be able to own it that way is pretty awesome. It’s something you created. It might not change the world, but it’s you.”