Sometimes it’s the turns taken along life’s road that turn out to be the most scenic. Charlotte based and Dallas bred singer/songwriter Russell Howard
knows about such detours, and he wound up seizing a potential lost opportunity in 2010 while in the midst of recording a project that turned out to be his new EP, City Heart
, set for release in early 2012. In March 2010, Russell signed with Good Child Music, the publishing and production company of NYC based percussionist and producer Lawson White (Santigold, Chromeo, arr. Norah Jones) and plans were in place to record their first project together at Clinton Recording. But the project was delayed by the sale of Clinton’s building, which also temporarily displaced Good Child Music.
Russell, however, pressed on and decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign in August 2010, raising $11K from fans in order to finish the recording of City Heart. Meanwhile, Good Child Music had moved into a temporary space in a basement adjacent to Flux Studios, and Russell and Lawson finally began recording in October 2010 and continued on and off through early 2011. Those sessions with Sam Cohen of Yellowbirds set the tone for the record – a vintage treatment of Russell’s unique alternative singer/songwriter sound. By January 2011, Good Child’s time in the basement had run its course and once again the project was put on hold while the studio was disassembled. So with the record nearly finished but the timeline uncertain, Russell traveled back to Dallas to complete the vocals for City Heart. Finally reconvening for a handful of days over the ensuing months to finish overdubs and begin mixing, Russell and Lawson completed City Heart in the Brooklyn apartment where the original demos had been cut.
“The sound of this record is something that was unexpected at the outset,” said Russell. “Lawson’s broad experience in classical, contemporary, pop, and electronic music; along with Sam Cohen’s truly unique guitar sounds combined to nudge me in a new direction and I’m excited for people to hear the result.”
And so City Heart, the fruit of a yearlong collaboration White, represents an evolution in Russell’s music. Embracing the vintage ‘60’s sound of Cohen, the album is awash with rich textures and distant murmurs while remaining a doggedly acoustic endeavor.
“I see this record as a bridge, both personally and musically, between my pop singer/songwriter beginnings and a more indie/folk/alternative future,” Russell adds. “I’d like to see people on both sides of that divide connecting with the music. City Heart is the record I hope to be building from for the rest of my career.”
Born and raised in Dallas, Russell grew up as the only child of two professional symphony musicians. A rich artistic environment and the freedom born of parents leaving for work after dinner gave rise to a continuous series of creative projects. By the end of high school Russell had successfully skirted screen writing and taken a brief detour into architecture before discovering a talent for songwriting. In 2002 he moved to North Carolina to attend college and began performing at the school’s open mics and battle of the bands. By his senior year he had founded a still active venue in the student center and was playing regularly on and off campus. A brief move back to Texas during the summer after graduation saw a demo project entitled Too Soon/Too Late evolve into a full production. Along with the Perfect EP, Too Soon/Too Late was released winter of 2007 and was heralded as “an attractive and intelligent piece of modern singer/songwriter pop” by the Dallas Morning News. Regional touring evolved into steady engagement on the college circuit on the strength of Russell’s 2009 Too Soon/Too Late 2.0 EP (2009), which featured two unreleased songs from the original sessions.
For more information, please visit www.russellhowardmusic.com