brooke russell and the mean reds
With songs about boozy nights, bad decisions, broken hearts and the best intentions, Brooke Russell and The Mean Reds blend vintage Americana with widescreen, dark country. Their second full length album, The Way You Leave was written between Nashville and Melbourne and released October 2017. Sweet, sultry and soaring, this new collection of songs document love, loss, friendship and regret and feature co-writes with Andrew Combs, Clare Reynolds and Tobias Hengeveld as well as covers of JD Souther and Tom Waits.
Drawing influence from alt country, jazz and folk styles, the band are also inspired by the songs of Ryan Adams, Joe Henry, Sharon Van Etten, Gillian Welch, Tom Waits and Neko Case. Their debut album, Poor Virginia was released in August 2013, and listed in Basement Discs Top 10 Australian Albums of The Year and Unpaved's 50 Best Albums of 2013. After showcasing at the 2014 Americana Festival in Nashville, the band released a single, Never’s Gonna Take Too Long in April 2015 and an EP of the same name in December 2015. Brooke recently received a Creative Victoria grant to return to Nashville in March 2016. She also performs regularly as a backing vocalist and is musical director of the Melbourne based choir, If You See Her, Say Hello. Brooke was the 2016 winner of the Darebin Music Feast Songwriters Award for her song Never's Gonna Take Too Long.
Culminating in a kitchen in Fitzroy North, The Mean Reds are based in Melbourne and consist of Brooke Russell on voice, guitar and mandolin, Grant Taylor on lead guitar, Ben Franz on pedal steel, Luke Richardson on double bass and Roger Bergodaz on drums.
"Melbourne's Brooke Russell has one of those voices that, depending on your mood, is comforting and makes everything feel alright or assists you in wallowing in your sorrow.
Either way, it's a beautiful voice full of rich tonal character that sways through the melodies and slow dances across the quietly mesmerising backing of her band The Mean Reds, particularly the evocative pedal steel of Ben Franz and restrained guitar of Grant Taylor. Late-night jazz, croon-and-swoon slowcore, alt-country and heartache country-soul blend together on this intoxicating collection of songs that recall late-period Dylan, The Delines and Lucinda Williams." - Chris Familton, The Music ****
“Brooke Russell and the Mean Reds’ country-inflected take on timeless pop that you’ll dig if you like Caitlin Rose.” - Nashville Scene
“She’d be at home in the Nighthawks diner, except that she’s maybe not jaded enough. There’s an innocence and hope to most of her songs that feels like a balm.” - McKinley Valentine, unpaved.com.au
“Sweet and slow country, with close vocal harmonies and just the right amount of melancholy.” - Chris Cobcroft, 4ZZZ
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