James Eugene Russell released his first release as a solo artist, As/Is in 2021. We had an opportunity to talk with James and bandmembers Becky Hanten (also wife) and Trenton Raygor. You can see them playing at a few upcoming shows: 331 Club on July 1, Icehouse on July 13 and The Amsterdam on July 29.
James, Becky and Trenton have a long history of musicianship; they traveled the country with punk bands such as Cadillac Blindside, The Book of Dead Names and The Cardinal Sin. Then James made a shift to country with Prairie Sons and then 10 years away from the music scene and onto self-reflection and change, which he describes in the EP.
The EP tells the story of addiction written during a time of recognizing the need for change (Train Wreck), to a time of introspection and internal civil war (You Were Right All Along) to an apology to those around him (In My Wake). It’s honest but never maudlin or preachy. The music is “country midwestern” or as James put it, imagine if Gram Parsons lived longer and started listening to The Replacements. It’s fun to meet musicians who have worked together for years enjoy and support each other so much as the band seems to do. Please due to the wonders of technology and pandemic-inspired time at home the album features on all start list of other musicians.