Welcome to Woody Russell's EPK
have been deemed the best
in their field by a panel of
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“Wow, wow, wow!!! Our audience was blown away by Woody Russell again... an incredible show and we were all happily eating out of their hands! ”
— Concert Host
- ARTIST: Woody Russell (Solo - Trio | and his Ridiculously Good Band)
- GENRE: Contemporary Vocal Jazz, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Singer-Songwriter
- YouTube Channel
- 2017-Current Tours throughout North America at all manner of venues (clubs, house concerts, theaters) as well as major festivals (Newport Folk, NxNE, SxSW, Winterfolk, Folk Alliance, Kerrville, Sisters, Houston Int’l, Tall City Blues, & more)
- 2017 Swan Songs Artist and Spokesperson
- 2016 Named Texas Commission On The Arts Touring Roster Official Artist
- 2016 Finalist - USA Songwriting Competition
- 2016 Listening Room Festival Featured Artist
- 2016 Release of Carry It Up with successful Pledge Music campaign
- 2015 Finalist - International Acoustic Music Awards
- 2014/15 Honorable Mention - International Songwriting Competition
- 2013 recipient of the Bugle Boy “Founder’s Choice Talent Trust Award” (Kat Edmonson, 2011 / John Fullbright, 2012).
- 2013 Successfully funded release of Delicious Days and subsequent video through Kickstarter
- 2012 Co-founder of BluzSkool, an interactive live program that encourages "Creative Courage" through musical improvisation with elementary aged children (booked at rural schools throughout Texas)
- 2011-12 Television: Prominently featured artist on the debut season (Sept ’11 – Sept ’12) of “Troubadour, TX”, a nationally syndicated docu-reality show that aired weekly on the CW Network in over 20 million homes
- 2010 release, Up Against It, received substantial critical praise in national and international blues press (see press buzz below)
- 2006 release Salt, nominated for an IMA “Album Of The Year”
Critically acclaimed, award winning, Contemporary Jazz vocalist, guitarist and composer, Woody Russell, blurs the lines between Jazz, R&B and Folk. It's a sophisticated musical niche that a handful of artists have occupied where Jazz and Singer-Songwriter crossover (think Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Gregory Porter, Lizz Wright, Al Jarreau). One could certainly reference the classic American Songbook for such composers, but Russell's take is decidedly more contemporary.
Growing up in a small college town in Montana, Woody Russell was surrounded by the natural beauty of Big Sky country. What he was not surrounded by was a culture of the arts, of jazz, and certainly not a live music scene of any sort. Nonetheless, music was a deeply fundamental part of his childhood experience by way of a modest but diverse collection of albums, FM radio and a family’s appreciation for music.
“I was, I still am, fascinated by music and musicians,” states Woody. “It was present in everything in my life, both the internal, as well as, the beautiful outdoor world that I grew up exploring. It held such a grip on my imagination. If I wasn’t actively listening to something, I was singing, finding my way around the guitar or creating recordings on my desktop cassette recorder. I cherished that little machine.”
Decades later, Russell has released a body of recorded work that spans from the early acoustic Folk infused songwriter fare of his first album, …As Simple As That (1996) to the highly praised Blues/Soul release of Up Against It (2010) and the stunning instrumental/orchestral collection, Big Sky (2012). The following year he offered the Pop-Jazz shades of Delicious Days (2013). Russell’s most recent full length album, Carry It Up (2016), further explores his amalgam of Jazz-meets-R&B and Soul, offering an uplifting, thought provoking listen replete with intimate narratives. It's occasionally romantic, often reflective, even sentimental, but balanced by his examination of a broader social consciousness on several tracks. The album focuses on themes of love, compassion, tolerance, respect and the quest for all of the aforementioned. An acoustic cover – Russell’s first - of Marvin Gaye’s chestnut, “What’s Going On”, features the tenor sax of Chi-town transplant, Dez Desormeaux, and is right at home amid the rest of this original work. The end result with Carry It Up is a lush recording that is positively brimming with superb song-craft created by a master tunesmith leading a world class band. Excellent soloists and ensemble interplay are on display throughout. But, what elevates the game, yet again, is Russell’s very fine delivery as a vocalist: equal parts crooner and soul-shouter. There can be no doubt that he possesses a mastery of his vocal instrument which conveys an emotional sincerity with each phrase, each lyrical turn. He navigates the sound of his words with a rhythmic precision and melodic expression akin to jazz improvisation. Comparisons to Al Jarreau, Kurt Elling and flourishes of Van Morrison abound. Then there’s his guitar playing, which Blues Revue likened to “the fearlessness of Jeff Beck”.
Woody Russell is the recipient of the 2013 Bugle Boy Foundation’s Talent Trust Award following Grammy nominee John Fullbright (2012). He is an officially recognized artist of the Texas Commission on the Arts Texas Touring Roster. Texas Touring Roster artists have been “deemed the best in their field by a panel of statewide experts.” Woody takes to the road throughout Texas frequently, as well as select dates in the U.S. and Canada. His live performances, whether solo, with his touring Trio (WR3) or with his full quintet/sextet, have been described as "transcendent" by KDRP radio personality, David Arnberger; engaging audiences through a sincere and "in the moment" connection to his music. Russell was a prominently featured artist on Season One of the CW Network's, "Troubadour, TX"; airing weekly in over 20 million households nationwide from Sept. 2011 through Sept. 2012. He also toured as one of four artists in support of the program.
"A great, unique, talented, dynamic trio, somewhere between any other genres you've booked."
- Concert Host
THE WR3 (TRIO)
The touring Woody Russell Trio features Austin based “A-list” musicians. A rotating cast of players from Russell's larger groups is heard in the Trio setting. Their world-class performances offer audiences a mesmerizing, uplifting concert experience fueled by stellar musicianship and guided by Russell's sophisticated songwriting. The Trio format has been developing over the course of many tours throughout the US in an aim to further the possibilities within the context of a small group.
TEXAS TOURING ROSTER ARTIST
Woody Russell is an officially recognized artist of the Texas Commission on the Arts Texas Touring Roster. Texas Touring Roster artists have been deemed the best in their field by a panel of statewide experts.
"Your Trio blew us away... a wonderful evening of music appreciated by very discerning aficionados."
- Concert Host
Woody takes to the road throughout the U.S. continuously. His live performances, whether solo or with his Trio or full band, have been described as "transcendent" by KDRP radio personality, David Arnberger; engaging audiences with a sincere and "in the moment" connection to his music. He's shared billing with artists ranging from Elvis Costello, Richard Thompson, Steve Earle and Paul Thorn to Jimmy Vaughan and Tommy Castro at theaters, nightclubs and major festivals, including the prestigious Newport Folk Festival. Critically praised as an "exemplary" guitarist, an “exceptional singer” and songwriter of the highest caliber - a "total artist package", Woody Russell delivers seasoned performances with over twenty-five years as a professional musician to his credit. Respected music industry veteran and President of BE Music and Entertainment, Michael Blanton, calls him "one of the best kept secrets in the world of live performance today."
THE ARTIST ADVOCATE
BLUZSKOOL / CREATIVE COURAGE
Woody is a founding member of BluzSkool, along with harmonica ace, Jose Ruiz. The Creative Courage program is very similar in format, but does not include the harmonica portion of the performance. Both are live events which bring a dynamic and interactive musical "clinic" to elementary aged children in often under-served communities. These performances includes on-stage participation; singing, dancing and percussion in a highly charged improvisational performance atmosphere that helps nurture self-confidence, as well as, developing an understanding of how individual creativity can be applied in many facets of life, from school studies to careers. Russell also emphasizes a respect for the creativity of others.
Bringing his artistry to folks in hospice care is also part of Woody Russell's commitment to making music as an offering of healing. The Austin based, non-profit organization Swan Songs, headed by fellow artist, Christine Albert, coordinates and facilitates the connection between artist and hospice care recipient.
"These are sensitive, poignant moments for these folks and their families, obviously. I approach each concert with the aim of providing some comfort, creating something uplifting in what is often a sad, emotionally difficult time. So, in that regard, it’s a very powerful reminder of what my role as an artist, a musician, is about at its deepest level. I learned long ago that I am in the business of touching people’s hearts, which is exactly what Swan Songs is offering these folks."
Woody is an "Artist Advocate" for the non-profit, Project AK-47; a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing kids from a violent life of child soldiering and prostitution, He is committed to sharing their vision and furthering their mission. Project AK-47 exists to rescue child soldiers from lives of violence, restore their identities, and reshape regions of conflict. Visit WR's "Project AK-47" page for more details.
Woody Russell was a prominently featured artist on Season One of the CW Network's, "Troubadour, TX"; airing weekly in over 20 million households nationwide from Sept. 2011 through Sept. 2012. He also toured as one of four artists chosen to represent the program.
Carry It Up (2016)
Delicious Days (2013)
Big Sky (2012)
Up Against It (2010)
Time To Go (2001)
As Simple As That (1996)
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"Woody Russell is the consummate singer/songwriter, and one of the most believable lyricists and storytellers I’ve heard in quite some time. Russell’s latest endeavor, Carry It Up, packs a wallop of pop-infused jazz, soul and rock flavorings that will send you on an unforgettable expedition through fascinating hues of ingenious songwriting and immaculate production – track after track after track."
"[Carry It Up] is bristling with blue-eyed soul grooves while, lyrically, the long player offers insight into relationships as well as addressing broader social issues ... as on the album's title cut. The song 'Carry It Up' is a kind of 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' for the 21st century."
RootsTime (Carry It Up review translated from Dutch)
"[Russell's] work has sometimes been compared to that of artists like Sting, Gregory Porter and Van Morrison, and we can certainly find [that] in there. For example, Last Time, Savannah would not be out of place in the more jazzy repertoire of Gregory Porter. We also have some favorite songs on this record. A Place In Line, The Heart Is Still King, the cleverly arranged Let's Be Done and Victory, the playful, jazzy Empty Man and, of course, What's Going On."
KDRP ‘Sun Radio’
Chart Magazine (CAN)
“He's got some powerful, gut-emanating pipes, full of soul and deeply-felt conviction. He immediately drew attention with his intricate finger work. The packed crowd was roaring…eclectic and unique and worth more than the price of admission.”
Radio and Retail
"Every song is a gem and the musical diversity makes for very enjoyable listening all the way through!"
“5 Stars... this is the best album I've heard in 2013 and the competition isn't even close."
“Woody Russell has crafted a lovely collection of original blues and soul music… appealing guitar tones; his crisp, inventive lines blend funk and blues with Jeff Beck’s fearlessness.”
Blues Matters (UK)
"There's a fine legacy of Texas blues and Woody Russell is well up there alongside many of his heroes... sounds like the work of a man whose life revolves around his music and he writes and plays well enough to put him well ahead of most of his peers."
“A little taste of Americana, Salt is a poetic string of love and loss. With an ear for craftsmanship, this album successfully captures the roots-folk sound often lost in production.”
“Russell’s guitar work is exemplary and his vocals alternate between fiery and soulful… a strong composer with a unique perspective.”
"Salt has the sound of a musician who has invested a lifetime in sharpening his playing."
The Blues Report
“A very good musician, an exceptional singer and let’s not forget Woody’s songwriting that seals the deal for this total package artist.”
“If there was justice in the world The Woody Russell Trio would be too big for our little venue. ”
— Ken Crosby, ACMA