Lisa Gain has been making great music in Columbus for a long time now. Last year, Gain won WOSU’s Tiny Desk contest, adding to a collection of accolades and awards that she’s corralled in her 20-plus years of musical service. Over that time she’s honed and refined her blend of songwriting and musicianship into a sound that is uniquely her own. Currently, she fronts Lisa Gain & The Rusty Silos, a trio where she sings and plays guitar. They’re a prolific act that you can usually find playing around Columbus on the weekends. If you’ve ever had a chance to listen to her, you know that she can tell a story like no other, knowing exactly how to tug at the heartstrings of the listener. Her voice, however, is what truly sets her apart from her contemporaries. You can call her folk, indie, Americana, or whatever you’d like, but you cannot deny the passion and emotion in her voice. Never more do these qualities shine more brightly than in her newest solo single Worth It released March, 2019.


Lisa Gain’s voice has been heard through notable city outlets like Columbus’ NPR for good reason. Gain has been touring her Americana and folk brand for more than two decades, delighting coffee shops and radio stations around the city. A self-taught guitarist by the age of 18, Gain has been shredding the local circuits ever since, delighting central Ohio with covers and original tunes. A band has been formed for the self-titled debut album “Lisa Gain & the Rusty Silos,” which is scheduled to be released in the coming months.

Gain showcased that true singer-songwriter grit for her 2018 WOSU Tiny Desk Concert entry “Wake up Violet.” The ode to the #MeToo movement, penned a few days before the competition, won first prize. Her wavering yet powerful vocals and guitar play echo throughout her catalog.

Columbus can be a difficult home for a musician to leave. Sure, the ethos of fame and fortune that Los Angeles and New York use to lure artists are enticing, but some artists prefer to keep their hearts close to home. 

Lisa Gain & the Rusty Silos pose on a train that is marked with "Ohio." The members of Lisa Gain & the Rusty Silos—Lisa Gain, James Boza and Bryan Rupejko—have individually been in the Ohio music circuit for 20-plus years. (Photo by JLM Photography)

Lisa Gain is one of those exceptions and has been grinding as a Columbus-area singer/songwriter/guitarist for the past 22 years. During most of that span, which started when she was just 15-years old, Gain has never worked on a project with a backing band. Her tireless work has resulted in over 400 written songs, countless shows up and down Ohio and a 2014 Ohio Music Award for best Americana single as a soloist for her smooth-flowing, pleasantly coarse storytelling on “2 Packs of Cigarettes.”

The solo artist worked tirelessly to perfect her craft over two decades; that was until she stumbled upon organic musical chemistry a couple of years ago.

Through her experience playing the local circuit, Gain, who writes songs and plays rhythm guitar, teamed up with two other area veteran musicians to form the Rusty Silos: James Boza (JB) on bass and Bryan Rupejko on drums, who even ended up recording a full arrangement of “2 Packs of Cigarettes.”

However, things get switched up a bit on its latest single.

Sorrowful, surreal strings from Chris Shaw and a patient acoustic guitar riff greet listeners at the door to Lisa Gain & the Rusty Silos’ latest single, “Rusty Silo.” A self-described Americana artist, the acoustic roots of our country are echoed on the band’s first single of their upcoming album.

Gain’s voice starts out wavering but grows powerful, such when she almost screams out in the first verse, “I got no motivation.” Using rusty silo as an analogy, Gain’s lyrics are felt by the entire group, who have all spent 20-plus years in the local music scene.

“It’s about aging. Feeling irrelevant and not useful anymore,” Gain said. “It happens to all of us eventually.”

The instrumentals flirt with folk and Gain’s diverse way of expressing the above sentiment highlight the first four minutes, but the climax over the last 1.5 minutes steals the show. Gain beautifully cries out “Don’t forget me/Like a rusty silo”—adding goosebumps with a stretched out “o”—the weeping violin starts to fade and Rupejko cymbals crash in an emotional concoction.

Stay tuned for more, because Lisa Gain & the Rusty Silos has new music on the way, spanning many genres but will deliver a fluid product each time. The consistency lies in its vivid lyricism and pertinently rhythmic guitar and drums.

Make sure to share “Rusty Silo” with others by visiting Lisa Gain’s website here or purchasing the song here.

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Rusty Silo band links

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Lisa Gain solo links

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