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Song Premiere: "The Sound Of Rock & Roll" by Luther Russell

Luther Russell by Savannah Spirit
22 January 2018

Luther Russell; Photo Credit: Savannah Spirit

Los Angeles-based indie multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Luther Russell is set to release his first-ever retrospective. Partner to Big Star’s Jody Stephens in Those Pretty Wrongs, the artist delivers Selective Memories: An Anthology, a career-spanning, genre-splitting 2xCD that features 25 previously unreleased songs that includes performances from Jakob Dylan and Marc Ford.

Selective Memories: An Anthology offers 41 reasons why Luther Russell is so highly regarded by his peers and so treasured by fans who have fallen in love with Russell’s eclectically personal songs that careen rambunctiously between power pop, rootsy Americana, folk-rock, punk, funk, and country.

This 2-CD compilation, due on Hanky Panky Records (and as a double-cassette on Burger Records), also provides newcomers a wonderful introduction to an artist whose work critics have compared favorably to Wilco, the Replacements, Ryan Adams, Elliott Smith, and Big Star.

While you may not know it, chances are that you probably have heard Russell’s work without realizing it. His songs have appeared on all three major TV networks along with HBO and Showtime. He also co-wrote two tunes on Weeze*r’s 2016 Grammy-nominated album, and was one of the performers on the recent Big Star’s Third live tribute album. A sought-after producer, Russell has helmed projects for heralded acts as *Richmond Fontaine, Holly Miranda, Noah & the Whale, Sarabeth Tucek, Fernando, Calvin Love, and Miranda Lee Richards.

His duo with Jody Stephens, Those Pretty Wrongs, last year released their debut full-length. Russell currently has been working with another cult rock icon, Robyn Hitchcock, serving as guitarist in Hitchcock’s current band, the L.A. Squires.

Russell has carved out a career as a solo artist, songwriter, producer, sideman and multi-instrumentalist. In fact, he already has recorded his next studio album entitled Medium Cool,. Russell describes it as a rock album in “the classic sense” — comparing it to the feeling of records like Big Star’s Radio City and the Dwight Twilley Band’s Sincerely. He reports too that the second Those Pretty Wrongs full-length is in the works.

That Russell selected “The Sound of Rock & Roll” from Medium Cool to close Selective Memories makes perfect sense. He strongly disagrees with the notion that rock no longer has a social significance. “Rock and Roll will never die,” he says, “because it’s human and more about an attitude than a sound. Kendrick Lamar is rock and roll. Ice Cube is rock and roll. Coltrane is rock and roll. To me at least — no one can kill Rock and Roll, because it’s a state of mind.”

The Big Takeover is pleased to premiere the flowing and melodic country-rocker “The Sound Of Rock & Roll”, about which Russell explains, “In this song the kid’s entranced by a girl smoking a cigarette in a leather jacket and follows her into some club to watch some band—probably a mediocre one—because she’s pilled-up and in love with the drummer. But the atmosphere is intoxicating and before the kid knows it, he’s been set free by rock and roll.”