Some say this is my best work… I like that.

Cami Bradley is one of Spokane’s newest celebrities. When Jill and I went to see her perform at The Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane, WA a couple of days after the finale of America’s Got Talent (she placed 6th overall!), we were excited to see Cami’s younger brother Ryan Miller on stage tuning a guitar and getting ready to open for her with his band, The Rustics. Cami and Ryan have long been members of Life Center Foursquare Church, where their parents are worship pastors. About a decade ago, I was actively involved in both the high school and college ministries there, and got to know both of them pretty well then. I’ve been transfixed by Cami’s voice since the first time I’d heard her sing. She sings like an angel.

When she went on to our local version of the show, Spokane’s Got Talent, I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see her win the whole thing and take home a brand new truck- although I was a bit jealous! But then when I saw her take the stage in the national competition a couple years later, I think I jumped out of my seat. She nailed her first performance and had the judges hooked right off the bat. Then, masterfully, she impressed the whole country with every song week after week, and we didn’t see her sent home. My wife and I couldn’t believe our eyes- or our ears. Cami made it all the way to the finals, where ultimately she placed 6th (between the two of us, she should have landed at LEAST 3rd!). Soooo, that brings us to Cami’s show at The Bing Crosby Theater. 

As Jill and I took our seats, excited for the opportunity to support our local celebrity (and just to get a date night without our little Lorelai!), The Rustics began their performance. My jaw hit the floor. Ryan and fellow frontwoman Mackie Hockett, with every note, had us lost in their sound. This wasn’t a local talent. This was much bigger than that. I didn’t care what it took- I had to collaborate with these two for their album artwork. The music was too beautiful and I was way too inspired not to. After the show, we approached Ryan and Mackie about our idea, and they were ecstatic. I didn’t know it at the time but they were both big fans of my photography! Score!!

 

Although overwhelmed with other work at the time, Ryan and I began conceptualizing artwork for their CD. After sending me some tracks to review and become inspired by, the gears started turning. We threw around a few pretty cool ideas, but none of them panned out. After some creative conceptualizing with one of my good friends, Cruz Yañez (Dallas, TX), I bounced an idea off Ryan and Mackie that they really liked. 

 

 

From there, it just grew into this beautiful story.

 

 

The Rustics‘ new EP, “Be Here Now” is now available for purchase online and can be purchased locally in Spokane, although I’m not quite sure where. I can get you one if you’re interested.

I don’t know what the future holds for The Rustics, but I pray it’s bigger and better than this, and I’m excited to be a part of it! Feel free to leave your feedback below. I’m extremely proud of everything we got from this collaboration, and pray we get the chance to make some beautiful artwork again soon! 

 

*Special thanks to our talent, Bill (along with his lovely wife, Lori) Moore, who graciously joined us (as the models representing a much older Ryan & Mackie) for a bitterly cold 5:30am session out at a nearby lake, to my little brother Ben Ainley for loaning me his canoe, and to all my great friends (especially Cruz and David DeRego) for their awesome ideas and input throughout the creation of this album artwork!

 

*If you’re reading this and in Spokane, WA, The Rustics will be performing at The Bing Crosby Theater for their album release this Saturday, January 18th, at 8:00pm. Opening for them are local acts ‘Hey! Is For Horses’ and of course, Spokane’s celebrity Cami Bradley! Tickets are available through Tickets West and are $12. I hope to see you all there!

1.16.12 update:

Below are some images not used (or not used in their entirety) for the finished album design, although we all really dug ’em. 

 


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