Russell Clepper

Russell Clepper

 Langley, Washington, USA

Known for his deeply poetic lyrics, soulful singing and able guitar picking, Russell Clepper will take you from Gulf coast beaches to West Texas desert springs on a flattened third and a metaphor. Side trips to Quebec City and the Puget Sound at no extra charge.


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.


Texas Lullabye

Written By: Russell Clepper

(Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Jimmy George;

she said to me
and as I turned away
wide empty prairie and the wind
and a coyote cried
a Texas lullaby
a Texas lullaby

Pure white
was her gown
and with the night
it hung down, soft to her thighs
in the buffalo grass
she laughed in the moonlight
sweet as a lullaby
a Texas lullaby

- bridge -
So long, and the wind
So long, and the wind blows out
the dying firelight
it's goodnight tonight

I'll close my eyes
wait for that dream
as the prairie moon rises and falls
and drowns in the draws
I'll hear a lullaby, lullaby
a Texas lullaby

That Ain't Right

Written By: Joe Contreras and Russell Clepper

(Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Jimmy George;

With the sign of the Holy Ghost
and a Bible in his right hand
he declares the union
of a woman and a man
Forgive me, Jesus,
but I just don't understand
why you need a sign, Bible,
presence of a Holy man...
to call that love,
that ain't right.

With extasy in his fingertips
and hope behind his wink
he gets her to turn away
and he slips it in her drink.
Me, I always told her,
girl don't leap before you think.
But with her mind so dazzled,
all she could do was sink,
to call that hope,
that ain't right.

Well now, you dragged me into scandal
and I've got to clear my name
says her dad who lights a candle
to some half-forgotten saint.
All he ever wanted was to move up
in his game.
Didn't really mean to hurt her,
he just don't understand a thing.
To call that faith,
that ain't right.

She was the queen of Comal county;
He was the son of a crooked judge.
He was the one her daddy wanted for her,
but I was the one she loved.
"Forgive me, Jimmy," she said
and gave herself a shove.
And I swear it on this Bible
Mr. Comal County judge.
To call this justice,
that ain't right.

Christmas in Quebec

Written By: Russell Clepper

(Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Jimmy George;

Breakneck, bottleneck, bag check, please just let me get on the plane
It’s Christmas in Quebec tonight and they’re waiting on me again.
Card swipe, don’t gripe, hide your pipe man
I’m becoming a nervous wreck
But I’ll be fine, Lord, just in time
For Christmas in Quebec.

CHORUS: dum da dee dum da dee da dee da dee dum das dee dum
da dee da dee da dee dum day (something like that…)

Snow bank, heart sank, called Frank, Hey! Could you lend a friend a ride
Just 300 miles from a 1000 Isles to the foot of the Laurentides.
Highway, long day, can’t stay, no time for a border check
I’m no terrorist, just a tardy guest
For Christmas in Quebec.

Turned ‘round, northbound, broke-down go send for my passport.
The farther I go t’ords the end of the road, the longer I come up short.
Snow flake, ice break, shiver shake cold air upon my neck
If I get the flu, I’ll catch the blues
For Christmas in Quebec.

Eye-strain, back pain, dead brain, Jack, would you give your care a whack
Wake it up with a coffee up, stay off the road and back.
Don’t tell, road’s hell, beats jail, well, kilo what the heck
Ever’ metric mile you can see me smile
For Christmas in Quebec

Desolation (7 Last Words of Christ)

Written By: Russell Clepper

(Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Jimmy George;

Seven Last Words of Christ

Desolation my old friend
I see your empty spaces grin
Like demons who just can’t stop laughin’
Desolation; home again

Friends and lovers come and go
These empty chairs sing their echoes
These mute bed sheets
Hold in their folds
Desolations soundless woe

Hope and angels float away
They’ll not return some other day
The stars they speak but all they say
Is desolation’s out this way

My virtues have all been cast aside
My heartsprings all filled in and dried
My bravest dreams must be denied
In desolations long, dark ride

Vain belief, useless sun
Wasted courage, forsaken fun
All lay beyond this horizon
Desolations only one

Desolation my old friend
I see your empty spaces grin
I feel the nails rust through my skin
Desolation; you old has been.


"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

Set List

Orignals -
Broken Sandollars
Bury My Love (co-written with Joe Contreras)
Balmorhea (co-written with Joe Contreras)
Some Place Like Heaven
Fiddle and the Bow
La Valse a Gaetan
Teenage Porno Sex Machine
High on the Hog
Rio Frio Waltz
Labor Cafe
Augustino Tells
Son of a Farmer
See You in My Dreams
That Ain't Right (co-written with Joe Contreras)
Nobody's Song
Streets of Quebec
Emilie's Song
Down the LIne
Lost on the Ocean
Middle of Everywhere
Pablo's Mandolin
Southwest Freeway
Dison's Hill
Texas Lullabye
Corpus Christi Moon
Steal My Car
HIgh Plains Girl
Grin and Bear

Covers -
Some Dark Holler
Dark as a Dungeon (Travis)
If You Could Read My Mind (Lightfoot)
Boxcars (Hancock)
Because of the Wind (Ely)
Many a Mile (Payne)
Long Black Veil (Dill and Wilkins)
Tennesse Stud (Driftwood)
Jambalaya (Williams)
So Lonesome I Could Cry (Williams)
Fish and Whistle (Prine)
Illegal Smilie (Prine)
Down in