ISAAC RUSSELL with TIFANI VANDENBERG and INVIRTUOUS at the Vernors Room

FRIDAY MAY 21, 2010
doors at 6pm
tickets: $10 in advance (buy tickets)

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“At age 11, ISAAC RUSSELL was frequently seen wearing a white Fender guitar strap, an oversized suit coat and his love of music on his sleeve. His musical talents were exhibited before then, [as he] possessed a knack for songwriting even before kindergarten.” – Brooke Brown, The Daily Herald, July 31, 2008.

Since birth, Isaac Russell has been surrounded by music. Before it was fashionable, his father, filmmaker and film professor Thomas Russell, spent years compiling an enviable music collection which included artists from Brahms to Badly Drawn Boy and everything in between. His love of music must have been genetic, as all three of the Russell kids [Spencer, Becca and Isaac] have grown up to be musicians and singer/songwriters – each one brilliant in their own right.

Admiring his brother’s musical talent, Isaac first picked up a guitar to play backup at the age of 12. Self taught, he was quickly on track to accompany his brother and then, just as quickly, developing his own mean blues licks. His inherent ability and natural gift had him writing his own tunes in no time.

After the devastating passing of his mother in 2005, Isaac channeled the difficulty of that loss into sophisticated composition. Losing your mother at age 13 creates a wave of crisis better put on paper, then tape. Much of the material he created by the time he was 15 would ultimately become ELIZABETH, Isaac’s first album. Produced when he was 16, ELIZABETH is a remarkably eloquent musical account of life experience rendered by a person of any age – let alone a teen boy. The events of his own life and the experiences of people around him have made Isaac mindful of the difficulties – even tragedies – in the lives of everyday people. For Isaac both then and now, writing songs seems the only way through turbulent times.

Named for his mother, ELIZABETH is an album built around the life of a boy ushered into adulthood at an early age. The Jonas Brothers this certainly is not. Rather, the songs demonstrate the maturity of some of today’s most accomplished songwriters.

“I held my sparkler as I walked Death was inevitable but nobody talked We’d just forget love We’d strike the match And the fuse was life and the light was death” --from “Elizabeth”

The vibrant local music scene in and around Provo, Utah gave Isaac a stage on which to perform. He took advantage of open mic nights at many local venues including Velour Live Music Gallery and Muse Music.

“I’ve watched Isaac Russell grow from a 4-foot-nothing 12 year old playing blues licks to a towering 17 year old writing incredibly heartfelt material.“ – Corey Fox, owner of Velour Live Music Gallery, Salt Lake City Weekly Magazine. With continuing encouragement from his family, Isaac put together a band and began playing local gigs. Enter producer and recording artist Joshua James and his producing partner McKay Stevens, and things started happening. These local impresarios recognized Isaac’s gift and the potential he had for commercial success. They produced the fledgling ELIZABETH and released the album under Isaac’s then stage name RuRu, putting to tape an album that highlights the essence of Isaac’s songwriting and touches everyone who hears it.

Quietly released on the internet [iTunes and amazon.com], and sold at local record stores and live gigs under the Northplatte label, ELIZABETH’s accolades include reaching #2 on the iTunes indie chart. A west coast tour and continued sold-out dates in Utah added to the buzz surrounding Isaac.

“It’s hard to believe how good Isaac is until you see [him] live. Most everyone who has seen the band perform swears by the singer’s brilliance…” – UVU Review

Countless books and films have tried to capture the experience of being a teenager – most written by adults. Isaac presents his own telling. No entitlements or chips on his shoulder, just his honest feelings. “You have made me a man darlin’ And I wish you well But you and my best friend Can go to hell” --from “Made Me a Man”

As chance would have it, ELIZABETH was past from Isaac’s grandmother to a music industry veteran who distributes music to her antique store. Label interest was immediate. Isaac is currently in the midst of recording his Columbia Records debut with producer Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello, Counting Crows). Big things are in store for young Isaac. As if being a local rock star and a high school senior with a full load of classes isn’t enough, Isaac has been busy contributing music to his dad’s feature film mr. dungebeetle and playing a small role in the upcoming Jared and Jerusha Hess [Napolean Dynamite, Nacho Libre] film Gentlemen Broncos.

Tune in for more.

With TIFANI VANDENBERG and INVIRTUOUS

 

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