Members of Maine’s best-known rock band are mourning the unexpected death of the group’s trombonist, who was known for his devotion to his craft and his ability to keep a group of talented, independent-minded musicians together for more than two decades.

Dave Noyes of the Portland-based Rustic Overtones died Thursday at his home in the city, according to the band’s singer and songwriter, Dave Gutter. Noyes was 45.

Gutter, one of the band’s founding members, said that he and Noyes performed together for about 25 years. Gutter said Noyes attended Deering High School and was married.

“Dave was a great guy, a saint, who was the glue that held us together,” Gutter said in a telephone interview Thursday night.

Gutter said Noyes steered the band, which broke up for about five years at one point, through rough times and helped it stay true to its musical roots.

Noyes also served as Rustic Overtones’ manager for the past year or so, booking gigs, making transportation arrangements and producing merchandise for the six-man rock group.


Former manager Erik Thomas said in an email that Noyes’ ability to manage the group “really highlights his importance to their career. My impression over the time we worked together was that he was always the glue that held them together as Rustic Overtones. He will be missed by many.”

“Dave was our do everything guy,” Gutter added. “There is going to be a big void to fill.”

According to Rustic Overtones’ website, the band’s unique version of indie rock is influenced by soul music, garage punk, jazz and psychedelic music of the 1960s and ’70s.

“A unique sound steeped in both Earth, Wind and Fire style funk and late-era Beatles psychedelia,” Rolling Stone wrote in a review of the band.

In a 20th anniversary review of the band, Portland Press Herald features writer Ray Routhier described Rustic Overtones as “arguably Maine’s best known rock band.”

Rustic Overtones’ baritone saxophone player, Jason Ward, said the hardest part of losing his friend will be when he is on stage and looks over to the spot that Noyes would be standing in.


“I’ll miss him most on stage,” Ward said Thursday evening. “It will never the same again without him. My anchor is gone.”

Ward described Noyes as a musician who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure his bandmates succeeded. He did whatever was necessary to ensure their success.

“Dave was one of those people who was completely underrated. His contributions were things that were not always recognized by others,” Ward said.

News of his death was just beginning to send shock waves through the Portland music community Thursday night.

Buckdancer’s Choice on St. John Street in Portland – one of Maine’s oldest independent music stores – remembered Noyes in a Facebook post.

“Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and bandmates of our friend and customer Dave Noyes,” it said. “An accomplished instrumentalist and arranger, but most of all, he was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. A sad day for the Portland music scene.”


Reactions were pouring in elsewhere on social media.

“What a tremendous loss to Portland, Maine, New England and the world. Dave was such a genuine and chill man. Heart is breaking for Rustic and all the people who had the pleasure to meet Dave or simply just heard his gift,” D.J. Parker said in a Facebook post.

“Good guy, huge talent,” Drew Wyman posted.

“I can not think of a more kind person in our music community,” added Jason Douglas.

Rustic Overtones is booked to play a benefit concert for a Cape Elizabeth musician next Thursday, March 14, at the Aura nightclub in Portland.

Gutter said his friend and fellow musician will be remembered that evening by current and past Rustic Overtone band mates, as well other members of the Maine music community.


Ward said he is looking forward to the Aura performance.

“I think it is going to be very encouraging for all of us to see what life is like after Dave Noyes,” Ward said. “In Dave’s heart of hearts, I think he would want for us to keep this going.”

Visiting hours for Noyes will be Thursday, 4-7 p.m. at Conroy-Tully Walker South Portland Chapel, 1024 Broadway, South Portland. A mass will celebrated on Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, 492 Ocean Ave., Portland. Interment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Portland. To view David’s memorial page or to share an online condolence, visit

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to

This story was updated at 1:50 p.m. Monday, March 11, 2019, to include funeral arrangement details.

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