Russell Eponym will drop in at 2 PM Thursday to delight us with 90 minutes of folk, blues, and beyond – his usual Thursday gig at Château Ce Soir. Musical shows with Russell truly require an emphasis on each of those terms. Before getting into the list, let me first note that Russell is a virtuoso with the guitar (six- and twelve-string), the banjo, the mandolin, the harmonica, the kazoo, and more. Add to that his poet/songwriter’s pen…and you’ve got something worth listening to indeed. He’s a true artist and his acumen is always showing – along with his spacious spirit. There are many reasons why Russell has been Poet Laureate, Artist-in-Residence, and Musician Extraordinaire at Ce Soir Arts since we opened in January 2012 – and this is one of them.
Let’s get to this list, and start with folk. Well, Russell is a true folk artist – what his Eponymous Family affectionately terms him: The Folkie. His brilliant grasp of the genre (not to mention his extensive repertoire) is clearly evident at every show. He knows and understands this music, and he freely shares interesting snippets of information and insight as he brings us this weekly 90 minute programme. Russell offers his own folksongs and those of fellow folkies like Donovan, Guthrie, McKennit and others, performed to perfection and simply lighting up the place with enjoyment.
Next on the list: blues. Russell has a distinctive style that includes his wide knowledge of the blues as well. Those guitar riffs and vocals that capture the soul of the blues infuse every show with just the right touch of expressive energy. When Russell dives into a number by Clapton or Dylan or Knopfler, we know there just might be some bluesy notes ahead. We dance and sway in time to the music because we feel it as it shimmers off those guitar strings and finds its voice in that voice. The hall shimmers too as we are surrounded by the soft tones of his very recognizable and rich velvet voice – one that sometimes carries a very tuneful sharper edge. As Æon often notes, “It’s grand!”
Beyond. What can I say? The truth is that Russell Eponym music cannot be defined to exactitude, for it’s much more than its component parts. Whether he is in an urban mood, has caught the pastoral fancy of a lilting Celtic number, or is tapping a toe to a country hoedown, his show is an adventure through his own musical landscape. He can be deeply serious or romantic, can serve up a stunning Elizabethan instrumental with his deft fingerstyle guitar, or get really silly and fun – all in the same show. We enjoy it all – the Dire Straits, the Simon & Garfunkel, the Kate Wolf, the Incredible String Band, the Buddy Mondlock, the Billy Connolly and more – including of course, the Russell Eponym! The mix is heady and wonderful (and this listing is quite far from complete). In his generosity we enjoy and learn a bit about music, musicians, musicianship, instruments, and individual songs along the way every week. We’ve even gotten to hear his own compositions – sometimes almost from scratch – and are let in now and again on his practice of songs new to the set list. We are excited when someone has asked him to learn a song because he is often quite accommodating; he loves the challenge of it and always brings his own inimitable style to new music. All this, as he adds to his growing collection of historical folk tales set to music and his own lovely compositions that always hit the mark.
The music Russell writes and performs gives us a glimpse into his personality and style. His gentleness and energy, his kindness and acumen, are revealed as he sings and plays. Of course, Russell plays many venues in SL and at other virtual worlds. You can see him at fine venues such as End of Time, Burnt Norton, Merquarium, Two Moon Paradise, Night Owl, The Peace Gallery, Faery Crossing, Indigo’s, Prim Economy, Silversword, Rainbow Painters, and Trickster’s Sounds in SL and Fleur’s Enchanting Corner in InWorldz. Join his group or check his online calendar for details. Note that he can often be found performing benefit concerts for such charities as Feed A Smile, RFL of SL, StandUp2Cancer, and others. His generosity is legendary, and for good reason.
His weekly readings at The Magic Tree also are exceptional opportunities to learn – not only about Russell but also about life in general, writing, music, and even dance! You must come round some Tuesday at NOON to enjoy his Thought for the Day and exceptional readings of his own luminous works and the prose and poetry of others. Everything from the delightfully humorous (Pam Ayres comes to mind) to the honoured classics including Keats, Wordsworth, Yeats, and Shakespeare are shared. He’s just wrapping up Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and has been reading from his own memoirs: Letters to Harry. Be sure to catch him on Valentine’s Day – it’s bound to be especially lovely…
Come on Thursday to enjoy folk, blues, and beyond with Russell as he streams in – LIVE from Wales. You will be warmly greeted. Medieval dress is always welcome at the castle – but do come in comfort and your own personal style. After all, as Russell reminds us, we are quite a gathering from around the grid – and around the globe. He is often seen in various garb and the audience is always peopled by folks of all description. You’ll see elegantly dressed ladies in gorgeous gowns; gentlemen attired in sharp business wear; delightful faeries with wings fluttering brightly; jeans-clad folks in a more casual mood; and perhaps a mermaid, dragon, cat, or vampyr here or there. We’re an eclectic mix – like the set list Russell carefully prepares before each show -and we’re having a ball. Come join us; catch this breeze to Château Ce Soir, and make your way upstairs to the ballroom; we guarantee it’s worth the trip!