GenresAmericana, Singer songwriter, Adult contemporary
LocationDetroit MI United States
Sounds LikeJack Johnson, Paul Simon
Digital Locationwww.russglenn.com musicpage.com/russglenn
HistoryMember since: 05/16/2013 Year Founded: 1999
- Original material: 02 hrs : 30 min
- Cover material: 02 hrs : 00 min
- CDs released: 3
- CDs sold: 500
- Digital songs sold: 2500
- Original Songs:
- Average Draw: 25
- Largest crowd: 100
- Have sound: Full PA
While most U.S. based singer-songwriters work on building a Stateside fan base in the hopes of someday playing for audiences overseas, Russ Glenn’s career began with an impromptu performance Down Under. While studying Resource and Environmental Management at a college in Australia, the Southern California bred Glenn was at a club late one night when the house band ran out of songs. They asked for volunteers to come up and play, and he got up and jammed on one of his favorite songs, Jane’s Addiction’s “Jane Says.” Now, some years later, he has recorded that song among ten originals and a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” on A Brand New Earth, his third and latest independent release.
Glenn has racked up a lot of frequent flier miles between that first stage appearance and his unique addiction to Jane songs and a fully realized band vibe on A Brand New Earth. Fashioning a true troubadour lifestyle, he has performed over the years everywhere from California to South Carolina and everywhere in between. Critics and tastemakers have remarked that he “writes melodic, soothing odes that crawl inside the recesses of your subconscious and root there for days at a time,” and have compared him to “a fiery version of Van Morrison” with a “Morrissey and Stipe vibe.”
The Muses MuseApril 04, 2008
I was thinking that maybe it was just my mood last Friday – I was excited because it was the day before a vacation, and I was head-bopping all day as I gave this disc repeated listens. But a few more listens later, I’m convinced – Russ Glenn’s A Brand New Earth is a treat on any day.
Glenn plays all the guitar on the album, and his earthy vocals sound like a smoother, more in-tune Michael Stipe. The opener “Stick” catchily layers crunchy electric over driving acoustic. It also has a cool, quirky chord progression and a hooky refrain worthy of the title. “Blind” begins as a yearning acoustic guitar-and-bass number before it bursts into a nice midtempo lope.
On “Goodbye” Glenn stretches his vocal range a bit higher, but he’s always in control. The heavy backbeat of the verses is juxtaposed with the straight-ahead power pop of the chorus.
And those first three cuts are excellent, but the brilliant “Curbside” is in another stratosphere. Seth Kibel’s squawking sax gives this a wildly jazzy vibe, and then Glenn turns on the effects-drenched guitar. All this over Scott Harlan’s bubbling bass and yet another rock-solid performance by drummer Andy Hamburger.
Glenn then offers a percussion-laced cover of one of my old favorites, Jane’s Addiction’s “Jane Says” (in which he quotes Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It"). And later he does a languid take on Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” that is sweetened by Harlan’s piano.
Glenn’s bio states that he is the father of young children, and another deep-groove standout, “Your Birthday” shows that proud dads can rock. The song is built around hypnotically simple riffs that a jam-band guy like me just don’t want to end. Next, “Don’t Say Goodnight” has a wistful calypso/reggae feel to it and is a natural follow-up in both music and theme to the buoyant “Birthday.”
“Path to the Gallows” is another good one, a straight-ahead folk rocker that tells a bittersweet, evocative tale. And the closing “This Land” is a prettily strummed environmental ode, just guitar and plaintive vocal.
One change that might have made this disc more cohesive would have been to re-order the tracks so the latter half wasn’t so folk-heavy. But that’s a minor detail. Russ Glenn delivers succinct, memorable messages in his writing, and the musicianship breathes crisp, organic life into his creations.