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. 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.
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 and has been writing with artists such as Andrew Combs, Mick Thomas, Jim Lawrie and Clare Reynolds. She also performs regularly as a backing vocalist and is musical director of the Melbourne based choir, If You See Her, Say Hello and recently curated the Warm Evenings, Pale Mornings project for The Aviary Sessions. Brooke also won the Darebin Music Feast Songwriters Award for 2016 with Never's Gonna Take Too Long and the band are currently working on a new record.
“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