Artist: Luther Russell
Produced by: Wool Recordings
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
For singer/songwriter Luther Russell, musical talent runs in the family. His grandfather, Bob Russell, was the legendary songwriter whose collaboration with Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones produced the famous ballad, He Ainít Heavy, Heís My Brother. Growing up in an artistic neighborhood in California, Luther Russell formed his first band, The Bootheels, alongside Jakob Dylan. In 1989, Russell signed on with Geffen Records with a new rock and roll band, The Freewheelers. Although the band received great critical acclaim, their poor record sales eventually caused their demise in 1996. But Luther Russell wasnít about to drop out of the music business. Instead, he began a lucrative solo career.
His latest work can be found on the new six-track EP entitled Motorbike released via Wool Recordings. The title song of the EP reveals much about the musical influences of Luther Russell. Offering up a psychedelic rock edge, Motorbike reveals a vocalized and musical style that would make Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan proud. But Russellís best works are those that contain no lyrics. Instrumental tracks like Dead Sun Blues and Et Al touch the emotions in such a way that the addition of lyrics would only cheapen the meaning of the song. Despite the musical talent of all six tracks, it would be these two instrumental songs that would touch me the deepest and evoke awe at the musical expertise of Luther Russell.
Motorbike is an EP that would make any fan of the Woodstock era very happy. In fact, I believe that Luther Russell may very well be a man born a few years too late. Had this singer/songwriter been able to attend Woodstock all those years ago, he would be a radio superstar instead of a talented musician just trying to catch a break. Motorbike proves that classic rock is not dead and that Luther Russell is definitely a musician to keep an ear out for in the future.