05/31/2010 05:00PM ● Published by Style
Photo by Dante Fontana
North Carolina native and Lincoln resident Dave Russell is the consummate entertainer.
He sings, tells jokes, dances, and most importantly makes sure everyone in the audience and those performing with him on stage have a good time. It is important to Russell that the people who spend their money for a ticket to his concerts enjoy the show. This energy equates to entertaining. “There are plenty of singers with great voices out there,” Russell explains, “but not that many ‘entertainers.’” He strives and always exceeds in bringing emotion out of the people listening to him. “My voice is my instrument,” he says. “I am blessed to have this gift.”
He didn’t start out as a singer. The last of seven siblings, Russell had the leftover instruments to try out. By singing, however, he was able to pick up melodies and short songs, and he put the instruments aside. After his first appearance on stage at age five – performing in his church’s Christmas program – he caught the singing bug. His parents weren’t able to afford formal music or voice training, so he taught himself by mimicking those he heard on the radio, on records, and by watching TV shows such as “Hee Haw” and “The Grand Ole Opry.” “We didn’t have a lot of money,” Russell says, “but all types of music played throughout the house all day and night.” He would practice by imitating his favorite singers, crowd-pleasers he still incorporates into his shows today.
By listening to Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Nat King Cole and many others, he has learned that singing with raw emotion makes an impact on folks. Another one of his major inspirations is Garth Brooks. This world-renowned artist once said, “True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt.” This is just how Russell approaches his performances. Russell can sense the pulse of his audiences and intuitively knows how to change the set of songs or the pace to fit that evening’s energy.
Russell is constantly working. After stints at Opryland in San Antonio, Texas, and Nashville’s The Grand Old Opry, he worked his way west and starred as the lead singer in Sammy’s Showroom at Harrah’s in Reno. Currently, he is working on several projects between performances throughout the western U.S. Along with his busy concert schedule, Russell is working with collaborator and co-writer Jerry Cupit of Cupit Music of Nashville on a development deal that will feature many of Russell’s original songs.
Maury Rosas has been the musical director for Russell’s back-up band, The West Coast Syndicate, for nearly five years. “Entertainment comes first with Dave,” Rosas says. “He doesn’t suffer from ‘LSD’ or ‘Lead Singer Disorder’ like most singers.” Rosas goes on to share that Russell is a genuine guy. “Dave really cares about his band and the audience,” he says. “That is rare in this industry.”
For more information on Dave Russell, visit daverussell.com.