"Meditative, Seductive & Dramatic. Just a short list to describe Woody Russell's latest release, "Big Sky". An impressive instrumental journey that leads well past ones own imagination. Something very tangible, yet much more hovers in the ether. "Big Sky" is as boundless as Mr. Russell's talents." - Lane Gosnay / The Bugle Boy
Woody Russell has long been a fan of jazz, film music and other variations beyond that for which he is most recognized. For years, privately exploring his own creative impulses, he has composed and recorded music influenced by his love and respect for these forms. As a result, Russell uses his multi-instrumental talents to continue to produce music that is vastly different from what he has released commercially as a recording artist since 1996.
But now, fans finally have an opportunity to hear the full spectrum of his expansive and diverse musical offerings with "Big Sky" - a collection of Woody's select instrumental recordings from his mostly "private" repertoire, dating back to a track from the late 90's.
Though critically acclaimed most notably as a guitarist, singer-songwriter and blues/soul artist, Woody Russell also possesses a gift for composing music that is well beyond the boundaries of his commercial album releases. As evidenced here, he continues to explore more adventurous and sophisticated compositions involving, not only his highly crafted guitar playing, but also elaborate orchestration. Jazz, ambient electronic, orchestral, acoustic and world music are all present in his instrumental work.
"With the technologies available today, the studio has become, in many ways, a musical partner. I'm not one to shy away from ambitious musical concepts. I allow myself to be as creative as I wish while trying not to self edit too soon in the process; as I'm more inclined to do when working on a traditional song structure as a singer-songwriter. It's a liberating thing not to have any, or perhaps very few, limitations in front of you when composing. Plus, creating music away from the guitar often leads me to very different, fresh ideas and arrangements that would not otherwise happen if I were strictly limited to using the guitar as my sole compositional tool."
"My first serious instrumental recordings pre-date even the earliest of these releases by a decade. It was at that point when I began to hear the possibilities of my music developing in terms of a larger sonic landscape. But, that said, it's the subsequent recordings that truly represent much more mature writing and production; hence the reason I feel comfortable releasing them as part of this collection."
The title of this collection is a nod to the place where Woody spent his childhood - often referred to as "Big Sky Country"; the beautiful state of Montana. He still returns to fly fish, hike and reconnect with the land that has meant so much to him since his childhood. He often considers his instrumental music, in particular, as having a deep connection to the natural beauty and the wide open spaces of Montana.
"Growing up on a gravel road, twenty miles from town, was a blessing for a kid to experience. That experience is embedded in my heart as a connection to a place filled with natural wonder and simple inspiration. It's also where my earliest musical memories and formative experiences as a musician began."
"Big Sky" will be updated with newly recorded pieces as they are released to public. In this way, it remains as open, in the context of an "album" release, as does the creative process by which the music is composed and recorded. Without limits, "Big Sky" promises to be a unique recording project; a creative endeavor that continually expands, thus offering new music to WR's loyal and musically adventurous fans.
released October 16, 2012
*see track "info" for specific musician acknowledgments and further details
Recorded at Green Shoe Studio - Austin, Texas
Produced by Woody Russell
All instruments, vocals, arrangement and programming by Woody Russell except where noted.
Award winning vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, Woody Russell, has released a body of recordings that span from the folk
infused fare of his first album, As Simple As That, to the highly praised blues release, Up Against It and pop-jazz shades of Delicious Days. Now, Carry It Up delivers a stunning collection of sophisticated "jazz adjacent" songs, further expanding Russell's superb song-craft....more