Russell Clepper
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Russell Clepper

Langley, Washington, United States

Langley, Washington, United States
Band Americana Folk


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"Singer-songwriter brings a bit of Texas to the Dog House in Langley"

Singer-songwriter brings a bit of Texas to the Dog House in Langley
South Whidbey Record Arts & Entertainment, Island Life
Dec 12 2008

A tall drink of water strolls into Langley tonight with a guitar under his arm and ready to quench the musical thirst of everybody at the Dog House Tavern.

Texas singer-songwriter Russell Clepper performs his original works, and some covers you may not recognize, at 9 p.m. today and tomorrow at the historic pub on First Street.

Clepper performed this past June at Island Coffee House & Books to a packed house that uproariously approved of his singing, playing and storytelling.

The lanky Texan has been writing songs for more than 35 years and performing them in public for almost as long.

Born in Lubbock — a high plains town with what he said has an unusually rich musical heritage — Clepper has lived and performed all over the state of Texas. He currently resides just outside Austin, where he spent the past four years in the acoustic duo, Clepper George with musician Jimmy George.

Known in his native state as a “lyricist’s lyricist,” Clepper has won praise as a songwriter who paints vivid images that are woven into stories drawn from his life, times and travels, not only in Texas, but in Canada as well, where he lived in Quebec City for 17 years.

His songs feature strong imagery drawn from the stark horizons and dusty landscapes of his native state, with a little romantic infusion from the Quebecois.

Clepper’s musical influences include gospel, bluegrass and folk music honed from hours of listening to great songwriters such as John Prine, Gordon Lightfoot, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Joan Baez, Emmy Lou Harris, Paul Simon, Tommy Hancock and the Supernatural Family Band, Leonard Cohen, Billy Joe Shaver, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, John Hartford, John Stewart, Hank Williams, Kris Kristofferson, John Denver, Jerry Jeff Walker, Sam Sadler, Leo Kottke, Tom Paxton, Ry Cooder, Loretta Lynn, Neil Diamond, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Guy Clark and a long list of non-celebrity but excellent musicians who inhabit the Austin area.

Clepper’s sound is a slice of folk-infused Americana, while maintaining the singer’s own personal and unique perspective, making his music tricky to categorize.

Clepper has released and co-released eight CDs, including “Broken Sanddollars,” and “Holiday Music” with Clepper George partner Jimmy George. His two solo releases are “Son of a Farmer” and “Some Place Like Heaven.” Hear some song clips at

There is no cover charge.

- South Whidbey Record


"Son of a Farmer" - 2000
"Texas Blend" (the Trebelmakers)- 2002
"Some Place Like Heaven" - 2003
"Texas Lullabye" (Clepper George) - 2005
"Broken Sandollars" (Clepper George) - 2006
"Holiday Music" (Clepper George) - 2007



Russell Clepper told his momma he was sick of being told what to do and packed his underwear and socks in a bandana, tied it to a stick and hit the road. He was four years old and is still wearing the same underwear.

He did however, patch things up with his mom before traveling all around the state of Texas and much of the rest of the United States and a few countries in Europe. He began writing songs while studying in Lubbock, Texas, his birthplace, spirit home and star port to the chronosynclastic infidibulum

Combining an esteem for poets like Wallace Stevens, Judson Jerome, and TS Eliot with a love for high, lonesome bluegrass and roots country, Russell paints multi-layered stories onto deceptively simple melodies to create music that's both old and new. Songwriters such as John Prine, Butch Hancock and Billy Joe Shaver are among those who have acheived the artistic heights he strives for. He uses his unique voice to soulful effect, supporting his singing with skillful guitar work.

Although Russell has written songs and performed them in public since the 1970's, he didn't release any recordings until 2001 with the appearance of his first solo effort, "Son of a Farmer". After playing for a couple of years in the legendary San Antonio underground folk roots group the Trebelmakers, he and fellow band co-founder, Mike Phelan, released "Texas Blend" in 2002. That was followed in 2002 by "Some Place Like Heaven", another solo CD.

In more recent times, a collaboration with Austin guitar wizard and songwriter Jimmy George resulted in two releases, "Texas Lullabye" (2005) and "Broken Sandollars" (2006).

He moved to Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound at the end of 2008.