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Kevin Russell: Bio

Kevin Russell

Kevin Russell is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. He performs with a number of bay area bands including:

The Rhythm Rangers (blues, rock, Americana)

Kevin Russell & his So Called Friends (bluegrass/folk/swing)

Driftin' South (classic country & western swing)

Kebru's Swing Outfit (Bob Wills style western swing)

Laughing Gravy (Americana & Gram Parsons Tribute)

In addition, he hosts Sonoma County music concerts by various touring musicians (including, Geoff Muldaur, Radney Foster, Jim Hurst, Kathy Kallick, Laurie Lewis, Mike Dowling & many others) and is the driving force behind The Sebastopol Guitar Festival, held in late January/early February. He has appeared as a sideman on 21 local recordings by songwriters & groups, has recorded five CD's with his various bands and has six CD's out under his name. His newest project, an all swing collection recalls the great western swing performers like Bob Wills, Merle Travis & others. It's called Country Swing, and came out in January 2016. He is a former DJ and writes CD reviews for the online website Freight Train Boogie. com. And, lastly, Kevin has performed as a side player for a number of local songwriters, including Michael Capella, Mark McLay, Teresa Tudury, Doug Jayne, Audrey Auld, Greg Abel, Greg Scherer, Amy McCarley & more.

Kevin has released a number of CD's in various bands, & under his own name.

These include:

Out Among the Stars -Modern Hicks [1999]

Tornado Alley - Modern Hicks [2001]

Under a Stormy Sky - Modern Hicks [2004]

You Don't Know Me - Kevin Russell [2002]

A Tribute to Gram Parsons - Laughing Gravy [2005]

Trouble in Mind - Kevin Russell [2005]

Not Out of the Woods Yet - The Rhythm Rangers [2007]

Live - Under the Radar [2006]

Beyond the Niche - Under the Radar [2009]

Pilgrim - Kevin Russell [2010]

There Ain't Nobody Home But Me - Kevin Russell [2010]

Plain Dirt Fashion [2014]

Country Swing [2016]

Kevin also contributed tracks to these compilation CD's:

Connections I [1996]

Freight Train Boogie [2000]

Connections II [2004]

The Covers Project [2015]

Kevin has also contributed as an instrumentalist to these other people's CD's:

The Ruminators “Wild West”

The Ruminators “Loomings”

Terry Pinnegar “Expeditions”

Kirk Keeler “Notes from the Underground”

Mark McLay “Just Glad to be Here”

Doug Jayne “Looks Like She’s going on a Trip”

Doug Jayne “Voice in the Wind”

Moss Henry “Autumn Rain”

Lisa Redfern “All is Bright”

Mark Beynon “At the Right Time”

Mark Beynon “Maybe”

Brian Gale “Deserted Country”

Danny Sorrentino “Lucky Buck & the Winners” 2008

Mark McLay & the Dustdevils “Love & Barbwire” 2008

Teresa Tudury's "Such Fine Things" 2009

Doug Jayne "Folk University"

Moss Henry "Roll the Bones"

check out Kevin's myspace page for the most recent updates: http://www.myspace.com/kevinrussell411

Driftin' South

Drifting South is a collection of many of the bay area’s finest musician’s. Like Duke Ellington, DS believe there’s only two kinds of music: good and bad. And they play the good kind(s). Specifically: western swing, classic country, honky-tonk and country jazz! Drawing from a wealth of American favorites like Bob Wills, Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Hank Thompson and more, they always manage to make covers their own and create music that will have you dancing or listening with great enthusiasm! This is music that recalls the unique country music stylings that came out of Bakersfield California, the rough and tumble side of Nashville’s glory years  and the Texas honky-tonks that merged big band swing with fiddle tunes and cowboy swagger!


Their relaxed on-stage style will makes audiences feel right at home and as if the show is happening just for them.

Kevin Russell is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. He performs regularly in the rockin’ country band, The Rhythm Rangers and with the bluegrass-ish group, Kevin Russell & his So Called Friends. He also performs with the classic country band, The Old School Country Band and the Americana group, Laughing Gravy. In addition, he is the driving force behind The Sebastopol Guitar Festival, held in early February. He has appeared as a sideman on 21 local recordings by songwriters & groups, has recorded five CD's with his various bands and has four CD's out under his name. His newest project, an all acoustic bluegrass collection called Plain Dirt fashion, was released in January 2014. He is a former DJ and writes CD reviews for the online website Freight Train Boogie. com.
And, lastly, Kevin has performed as a side player for a number of local songwriters, including Michael Capella, Mark McLay, Teresa Tudury, Doug Jayne, Audrey Auld, Terry Pinnegar, Greg Abel, Greg Scherer & more.

Cori Wood is a singer equally comfortable in jazz, folk, swing or country music. She is often seen performing with local cowboy legend, Scott Gerber, with various blues, country and jazz bands, including all of Kevin’s bands!  As both a soloist or back-up singer she brings a quality of warmth & authenticity to her performance. She is currently recording her first “solo” CD.

Mayne Smith is a singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist (guitar, dobro, pedal steel), known for many years in bluegrass, country, and roots-music circles. As a performer he started in the folk music revival and expanded to bluegrass and electric country music; but his songwriting also encompasses blues, R&B, rock 'n' roll, Tex-Mex, jazz, and pop.
Besides performing at folk festivals and clubs all over North America as well as in Europe and Japan, Mayne has written songs recorded by Linda Ronstadt, David Lindley, Rosalie Sorrels, and others. He has recorded and/or performed with well-known artists including David Lindley, Geoff Muldaur, Doc Watson, Jim Kweskin, Laurie Lewis, and John Fahey.

Ray Bierl has been performing music from across the broad American landscape for well on to five decades. He's a musical storyteller who draws on a wide range of genres and styles--cowboy ballads, Appalachian fiddle tunes, vintage rock and roll hits, Tin Pan Alley songs and country classics--delivering a travelogue not just of places, but of time, human emotions, and imagination.
Ray is also an accomplished and engaging fiddle player, drawing on traditions from throughout North America and the British Isles. As a square dance and contradance musician he has been in demand in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond for his inventive and playful approach to traditional and contemporary dance music. He has performed for 25 years with the well-known Hillbillies from Mars, and more recently with the band Swing Farm, as well as in countless informal ensembles.
"No one knows how to weave you into a song quite like Ray Bierl." - Tom Waits
"Every song Ray chooses becomes his own, fresh and personal. He's a great storyteller." - Laurie Lewis
"Ray Bierl not only knows how to make a song his own--he knows how to make it yours." - Chuck Poling

Markie Sanders is a bay area resident with a long history of performance and recording with many of California’s most beloved performers, including Laurie Lewis, Tony Marcus, Mayne Smith and many, many others. During her fourteen year tenure in Nashville she had numerous appearances on television and the Grand Old Opry. Markie is a consumate musican, a sought after teacher and the musical heartbeat of the band. In addition to being an accomplished bassist she’s a fine singer, too. When not plying her trade with this band, Markie can be found backing up bluegrass artists like Wendy Burch Steel or as the cornerstone of hillbilly favorites Swinging Doors!

Hugh Harris is a longtime Sonoma county favorite having played exceptional guitar in many popular country, rock & swing bands for the last three decades. A master of the country jazz guitar, he currently performs with pedal steel guitar ace, Bobby Lee in a duo called Wine Country Swing, as well as Driftin' South. Hugh is a walking encyclopedia on the history of Country music in the US and takes real pleasure in resurrecting the classic tone and guitar stylings of Hank Garland, Chet Atkins and Roy Nichols.

Kirby Pierce is a much in-demand keyboard player with an inexhaustible well of creativity and downhome fun in his approach to music making. A member of numerous Sonoma County blues, rock and swing bands he is regarded as a master of the boogie-woogie, New Orleans piano styles.

Rick Cutler is the drummer’s drummer! In addition to playing with every important country, rock, & blues band in Sonoma County for the past three decades, his full time gig as a teacher means he has mentored literally hundreds of musician’s now playing in the county. His impeccable taste as a drummer, & exquisite timing, explain his moniker, “The Human Mentronome”!



The Rhythm Rangers

The Rhythm Rangers is a seven piece band that covers the range of American roots music. Blues, rock, country, and western swing, are just some of the genres they play. “I think of us as America’s Jukebox,” says band leader Kevin Russell. We cover all the bases. If you want to dance, we're the band for you. We play family friendly music that'll put a smile on your face." Part of the success of the band is due to the many years experience of the band members. “We’ve all played in many, many bands and logged thousands of hours in the studio, doing live gigs and touring.” Our first CD,"Not Out of the Woods Yet", was released in July 2008, & features versions of songs by Johnny Cash, Bob Wills, Jon Randall, Tim O'Brien & others. Though we didn't win, this CD was nominated for a Grammy in 2008.

One fan’s view: “Thank you Kevin and thank you Rhythm Rangers! What a wonderful fun danceable upbeat positive vibrant rockin' down home bluesy glorious funky sandal kickin' show you put on for those of us lucky enough to hear you last night. And I got your new CD! Thank you!” - Kim K.

The Rhythm Rangers are:

Kevin Russell- guitar & vocals

Rick Cutler-drums

Blair Hardman- bass

Kirby Pierce- keyboards

Cori Wood- vocals

Bobby Lee- pedal steel

Russ Gauthier- fiddle, mandolin, guitar

venues performed at include:

Sonoma County Fair

Apple Blossom Fair

Forestville Youth Park Celebration

KRSH backyard concerts

The Mystic

Ace Cider Pub

The Black Rose

Town Of Windsor Earth Day celebration

Highland Dell

Sebastopol Center for the Arts

Rancho Nicasio

Hopmonk Tavern

Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival

Kevin Russell & his So Called Friends

Kevin Russell & his So Called Friends is a five piece band that plays an eclectic blend of acoustic music. Americana, or roots music, is a term given to music that meets at the intersection of blues, swing jazz, folk, country, bluegrass and even a little acoustic rock. And that exactly what we're up to. Our music is rooted in these genre's but with a modern sensibility. Using the typical bluegrass instrumentation of fiddle, mandolin, dobro, guitar, string bass and 5-string banjo we are as likely to do an Irving Berlin swing song from the 40's, or an old Ray Charles  R&B tune, as a hard driving Bill Monroe bluegrass number, or a classic Jimmie Rogers country song. We've even been known to sneak in the occational bluegrassified Beatles song! And when was the last time you heard a bluegrass reggae version of “Sitting Here in Limbo”?  In addition to creating lively new versions of old songs, So Called Friends also features engaging original compositions.  


Kevin Russell- guitar, resonator guitar, banjo & vocal
Markie Sanders -bass
Cori Wood-vocals
Ray Bierl - fiddle, guitar, vocals
Layne Bowen- mandolin, guitar & vocal

venues performed at:
Kate Wolf Music Festival- Laytonville

Ruth McGowans Brew Pub- Cloverdale
The Mystic-Petaluma
Sebastopol Center for the Arts-Casual Concert Series
Station House Café - Pt. Reyes
Lagunitas Brewing Company-Petaluma
Café Azul-Santa Rosa
Rancho Nicasio-Nicasio
Sausalito Arts Festival- Sausalito
Murphy's Irish Pub-Sonoma
The Black Rose- Santa Rosa
Ace Cider House-Sebastopol
Aqus Café- Petaluma
Saylors Restaurant- Sausalito
Hopmonk Tavern- Sebastopol & Sonoma
Papas Taverna- Petaluma
Bergamot Alley- Healdsburg

 

Laughing Gravy

Laughing Gravy is all about having fun playing music. Fronted by three vocalists & doing great original songs, as well as cool covers of our musical heros, we entertain ourselves as much as the audience! Good humor, good friends, good music. The band features: Allegra Broughton on guitar & vocals Doug Jayne on guitar & vocals Kevin Russell on guitar, 5-string banjo, resophonic guitar, mandolin & vocals Dean Wilson on guitar or bass & vocals Sam Page on bass & vocals Ron Stennit on keyboards Dan Ransford on drums & percussion, and Bobby Lee on pedal steel guitar. Our 2006 CD release, "A Tribute to Gram Parsons" was nominated for a Grammie!!

Kebru's Swing Outfit

Kebru's Swing Outfit, featuring Bobby Black, Blaine Sprouse, Markie Sanders, Cori Wood  & Michael Stadler. This is a totally fun group that leans pretty heavily into the Bob Wills/western swing catalog. Kind of a west coast Asleep at the Wheel feel. We don't have recordings available yet but what we do follows my recent CD, Country Swing, pretty closely. Think big band music with strings and an infectious dance beat that gets the body moving and puts a smile on your face.

You're, I'm sure, familiar with Bobby Black's work with Asleep at the Wheel/Commander Cody/New Riders of the Purple Sage and others. He's legendary among steel guitar players as a master of tone, timing and taste. And, he's a real nice guy.

Both Bobby and fiddle ace, Blaine Sprouse, also play in the bay area band Lost Weekend. Sprouse has played with all the heavy weights in bluegrass music from Bill Monroe to his current residence in Peter Rowan's bluegrass band. And is considered by many to be among the top fiddle players in the country.

Markie Sanders is a bay area resident with a long history of performance and recording with many of California’s most beloved performers. During her fourteen year tenure in Nashville she had numerous appearances on CMT television and the Grand Old Opry. Markie is a consumate musican, a sought after teacher and the musical heartbeat of the band.

Cori Wood is a singer equally comfortable in jazz, folk, swing or country music. She is often seen performing with local cowboy legend, Scott Gerber, and with various blues, country and jazz bands.  As both a soloist or back-up singer she brings a quality of warmth & authenticity to her performance. She is currently recording her first “solo” CD.

Michael Stadler is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed in numerous groups around the bay area for decades. Considered a musicians musician he is equally at home in country music, Celtic or western swing. And he is a powerful vocalist with a CD out that show cases his various talents on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo and more.

Kevin Russell is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and band leader.