Saturday, December 10, 2022

Fortunate sons

The Last Born Sons are a staple of the Toledo music scene—from small bars to outdoor stages and even the occasional laundromat, this hardworking band has played venues across town almost nightly since forming in 2010. The classic power trio features three multi-instrumentalists—Matthew Havers, Jonathan Rutter and Kyle Smithers—who rotate guitar, bass, percussion and vocal duties while staying true to their diverse sound. With hundreds of covers and a handful of original songs in their repertoire, the Last Born Sons put on a unique show. Toledo City Paper had the chance to talk with drummer Jonathan Rutter about the formation of the band, the recording studio they are constructing and the Toledo music scene.

How did the band initially form?

Our history starts in high school. We all jammed and played music—it all starts in mom’s basement, you know? [laughs] We officially formed under the name Last Born Sons in 2010. We quit our jobs bussing tables and cutting grass and decided that it was time to play music.

What high school did you guys graduate from?

I went to Whiteford while Matt and Kyle graduated from Emmanuel Baptist on Laskey Rd.

Who are some of your big influences and what kind of sound are you trying to create?

We are all pretty well-rounded guys—we play a wide variety of music because we listen to a wide variety of music. Our range is very broad, we have never really focused on dialing in on one sound. Honestly, it sounds selfish, but we just learn songs that we like. It is definitely a weakness that we have, not being pinned down to one specific genre. But conversely we can play everything from country to blues to reggae and everything else.

Talk to me about the recording studio you guys are building—will it be used primarily for recording the Last Born Sons or as a business that records other local bands?

Well Matt [guitar], has a degree from Full Sail University in recording arts. I have experience with studio techniques, so he and I kind of are the brains behind the studio. […] Because of the success of our band, we have been able to set aside some cash to get our studio fully operational. Hopefully, we will record our own material and other local Toledo musicians as well.

What are typical bandre hearsals like?

A lot of times our practice sessions are our gigs [laughs]. We’ll get together and figure out what songs we have learned that week and just try them out. A lot of times when you see us perform, you are watching us play songs for the first time ourselves. It is really fun; it keeps us on our toes and keeps the music exciting.

Do you have close relationships with other Toledo musicians?

People are so great about supporting us. From Andrew Ellis to the 815’s, Steve Kennedy, Chris Knopp, Chris Shutters and Joe Woods—all of those guys have helped us out so much. Just coming out and sitting in with us, that is a huge thing. All the musicians are doing their own thing but we have lots of respect for each other. I just hope that [the Toledo music scene] continues to grow. But yeah, we have had excellent support from everyone around town. I haven’t been in any fistfights [laughs].

The Last Born Sons play the Bronze Boar (20 S. Huron St., Toledo) on Wednesday, June 14, at 9pm.
For a full list of gigs or to book the Last Born Sons, visit

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