Portland Artists to Know: Dusty Santamaria

May 2, 2017 Rob Hedberg 

Dusty Santamaria maybe one of the best unknown singer/songwriters on the west coast, but say his name to anyone at a show in Portland and most likely they have never heard of him. There is one man though who has heard of Santamaria, and even took him under his wing.  This man was beat poet and novelist Walt Curtis, who is known for writing Mala Noche, the first movie directed by Gus Van Sant. These two have helped each other with the production of their art and have also performed together.  Dusty Santamaria, just like Walt Curtis could become singer/songwriter/poet who will be overlooked and only talked about those who have accidentally stumbled on his music that walks you through the dark nights.

Santamaria is image driven poet who writes with a passion rather than giving his followers albums of self-loathing and despair, which is quite refreshing.  He has a way to analyze a situation without giving judgement, allowing his listeners to never feel like they are being preached to.  There are many influences in Dusty’s  rhythm and blues sound that pays tribute to his obviously influences like Bob Dylan, The Band, and other 60’s songwriters, but it’s songs like ‘Keep My Grave clean’ that has country western kick that pays respect through it’s title to Blind Lemon Jefferson that proves Santamaria knows where his roots come from. Dusty’s ability to meld folk, blues, and rock and roll of the sixties and generations before and muscle them into contemporary songs that don’t seem caught  completely in the past is remarkable.  This is one singer/songwriter who has paid his dues, and even if his music doesn’t overtake the public, his albums will always be a treasure to stumble upon.  Below is Dusty Santamaria’s music video for his song ‘Sylvia says’.

Check out ‘Sylvia Says’ right here: