Russell Bartlett – Country-blues folksong writer Russell Bartlett was an early arrival to the Americana genre.His 1996 solo debut album “One Hand on the Plow (Republic of Texas Records) was greeted with high praise from a discerning music press in Austin, where Bartlett was based for twenty plus years. “Exceptionally good songs—I wish I’d written them,” quipped the legendary Townes Van Zandt in the “Plow” liner notes. TVZ was a mentor and brief friend of Bartlett, and his influence is pleasantly detectable in some of Bartlett’s hauntingly poetic lyrics. The one-time Seattle Grunge singer, who calls himself an “Eclectric storyteller,” cites musical influences ranging from Nashville Hall-of-Fame songwriter Tom T. Hall to seminal British alt-punk band Joy Division. “Stylistically speaking, I’m a really just a derivative mutt,” Bartlett says. True enough, but his songcraft is a pure breed of vivid imagery, hilarious wordplay and brilliantly crafted narratives. With a handful of original CD’s on various independent labels to his credit, his finely crafted stories and stark imagery have won the praise of the likes Newbury, Robert Earl Keen and Stephon Bruton to name a few.