Russell Joslin
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Russell Joslin

Rugby, England, United Kingdom

Rugby, England, United Kingdom
Band Folk Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"'Now and again an unsigned talent comes along that is doing something so different and so exhilarating that it has to be talked about' - Live Review"

Now and again an unsigned talent comes along that is doing something so different and so exhilarating that it has to be talked about. Since the launch of his album in June last year, certain circles have been waking up to the musical face-slap that is Russell Joslin. For Joslin possesses a secret weapon that both keeps you on your toes and clearly distinguishes him from the rest. Underneath gentle, intimate tones lurks a reedy, raw iron-bar of a voice that he unleashes to inject a vitriolic richness to his songs - adding a caustic addendum to an ironic love-song, or exposing a sinister twist in a rambling tale.

From the spirited opener 'Blood On The Coals', his songs demand attention. Joslin makes effective use of silences to punctuate the plucky punch of driving riffs and his voice oscillates naturally between a softer, mellow sound and that raw grittiness that is his alone. Joslin is calm and confident, but his presence takes second place to the arresting sound that comes out of him – at times intimate and personal, then suddenly terrifying, often in the same song. 'Bleed' exemplifies this: the quiet intricate picking acquires an almost sinister feel as Joslin unleashes the full power of his voice before dropping back into a gravely vibrato on deeper, held notes.

The blistering 'Story Gang' confirms his originality. The audience claps along until Joslin has sped up so fast his hand is barely visible, before taking a pause and going off in another direction entirely with the touching simplicity of folk ballad 'Country Lanes'. But this, too, is subject to the Joslin twist, as he subverts the traditional style with discordant chord progressions and a nod to the naughty ("her hair will make you dream of the sounds that will come out of her").

The pained 'Pale Mary' hints at a richer, vintage sound; the track is perhaps a little long but showcases some effective harmonica playing that appears again in his re-working of a Thomas Hardy poem. With lyrics about dancing and cider, a blander voice would make it sound to yokel-folky, but Joslin's abrasive, jaded tones suggest life experience beyond his years. It is nice to see the vulnerability a solo show exposes. A playful, calmer side to Joslin emerges that allows him to experiment with melodies – in 'Dead Baby Blue' he bends pace and volume to evoke the haste and rhythm of the train journey in his song, while a stripped down version of 'Dictionary Man' is heartfelt and moving, with a climax that get your palms sweating.

At his best, Joslin can create instant atmospheres that have an audience hanging on his every word. He really knows how to get the most out of a guitar, and this, along with his multiple vocal textures, brings to life the characters and tragedies of his tales. He reframes folk's storytelling tradition and brings it kicking and screaming into the 21st century, and is - without doubt - one of the most versatile and riveting young talents on the scene.

- Holly Dawson -

"'Explosive, hard hitting folk from a newcomer that will have all other singer songwriters running for cover from his poetic wrath' - Album Review"

Russell Joslin has been gigging around London for 4 years now. He has already secured support slots with Vincent Vincent and the Villains and electro mistress Dot Alison. His DIY approach - he mixed the album and released it on his own label - lathers up a stripped down blend of heavy strumming and piercing vocals that bring a much needed gust of fresh air into the British folk scene.

He’s most certainly an angry chap. Sounding like Pete Doherty might if he were denied a hit for a few days, Joslin will carve chunks out of his listeners inches deep filling them with a satisfying rotten blues. With demonstrative songs titles like Dead Baby Blues and The Belly of The Beast it is clear that he’s not here for fits and giggles. His purpose is more to preach, for which his voice is well suited.

Joslin shows he does have a softer centre on tracks like Tinsel and Metal, a sitting on the pier and bearing your soul kind of a track about a temptress witch that lived by the sea, ‘wrinkled in all the right places, she pulled the right faces,’ he joy joyfully cries.

The out and out raw recording techniques on Dream Token are certainly intended to be fraying at the edges. But over the period of the whole album they start to become a little repetitive and grating, like finger nails steadily moving down a blackboard. This does not take anything away from Joslin’s up front talent though, but it does mean you’d be well advised to take Dream Token in two bite size pieces rather than one tough to swallow mouthful. - David Samuel - Subba

"'an album of eloquent beauty' - Album Review"

If you're a fan of heart-on-sleeve, gut wrenching, bloody and messy acoustic songwriting from someone who sounds like he should be propping up a late-night bar with Jeff Buckley and Elliot Smith, then you're gonna love Russell Joslin.

With nothing but his amazing cheese grater of a holler and his beautiful, intricate virtuoso acoustic guitar strumming, Russell has made a shocker of an album - in a very good way.

People who describe anyone with an acoustic guitar as 'folk' need a good kick in the teeth for laziness; it's true that Russell has elements of the harder edge of folk, but he's also got the soul of a bluesman, the detailed storytelling of country, and the feisty 'screw you' attitude of punk. Set aside images of hippies in kaftans singing 'Kum-By-Ah' around a campfire, 'cos in Russell's hands, the acoustic guitar is a weapon of sinister violence and vicious murder.

'Blood On The Coals' is a lumbering, lurching melody with the blackest of vocals almost spat out, while 'The Sweetest Thing' could be the soundtrack to a killer cowboy on holiday, with Russell coming very close to busting his strings and bashing a hole in the side of his guitar as he bashes it for rhythm while singing about the elusive girl who haunts his dreams.

How anyone can manage to create such an album of eloquent beauty with the simplest of instruments is beyond us, but Russell Joslin, with his quite preposterously huge talent, has gone and done it.
- Becky Ross -

"'This inner sanctum is initially brought to its knees by unsigned troubadour Russell Joslin' - Live Review"

London's Hoxton Bar and Grill provides a somewhat more than ordinary venue for a gig. The live area feels like a secret garden tucked away behind huge wooden doors, like a walnut within the proverbial whip that is the bustling exterior of the bar.

This inner sanctum is initially brought to its knees by unsigned troubadour Russell Joslin, an artist with songs so raw and powerful they induce both goose bumps and a temporary state of mild paralysis as the minute crowd are captivated, mesmerised and spellbound all at the same time. Sounding like the lovechild of Ray LaMontagne and Joe Strummer kicking the shit out of a Damien Rice track, this is passionate, heart-breaking, soul-spilling music that will hopefully be unleashed on the public very soon.

In a completely different, much more upbeat, vein, Scouting For Girls take the stage. Full of cheek and charm they provide sing-a-long, radio friendly gems that are as infectious as chicken pox in a nursery, and as irresistible as Michaela Strachan (the object of the bands affection on track 'She's So Lovely').

Drawing on influences such as Sixties pop, and more contemporary artists such as Belle and Sebastian, leads the band to create humorous, catchy and unforgettable nuggets of retro-pop genius.

For a band that have only been signed a little over five months, Scouting For Girls are ruthlessly polished on stage, but interject tracks with in-jokes about He-Man and becoming the next James Bond (both of which provide subject matter for tracks), which detract from any pretension you could perceive and make them instantly likeable.

If you like your pop with a retro twist, killer hooks, a bit of cheek and a splash of scouting nostalgia, this trio are definitely the way forward.
- Russell Powell -

"'an intoxicating mix of arrogant honesty and awesome creativity' - Album Review"

It doesn't get much more stripped down and genuine than 'Dream Token' by Russell Joslin; earthily hard edged and angular yet sensitively honest, cerebrally twisted yet big-hearted, love and hate, dream and nightmare - it's all there in masses! 'Dream Token' is an outrageously consuming piece of reality-folk for the modern 'man' - compelling and at times scary but always an absolute pleasure to behold.

Joslin takes you down roads you probably wouldn't choose to walk alone. He visits emotions, thoughts and dreams that most would find challenging to say the least. Expressively slanted vocals vie with sympathetically angst ridden acoustic guitars throughout to give this album its emotional guts and often painfully honest quality. Inspirationally basic accompaniment and a somewhat lo-fi production add depth and grittiness to Joslin's innovative and mind-altering take on nu-folk. 'Dream Token' brings things home, batters the senses and leaves the listener feeling somewhat wasted yet re-born and newly focussed.

Joslin's work is definitely music that you have to give time to; this aint background music, it's not peace and tranquillity - 'Dream Token' can be like confronting your worst nightmare, like accessing your dreams and coming to terms with waking reality - its a musical, reckless and manic Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the strong minded and open hearted music lover. Through a creative and mind numbing display of angry open-ness Joslin reaches the parts that most of his contemporaries don't even come close to. It's a tantalising mind-fuck of an album that's refreshing, rewarding and reactionary. Fantastic stuff!!

Yes, I really love what Russell Joslin is doing - his fearsome attack of the inner mind and fight or flight senses is as breathtaking as it is outrageous. Joslin's way is not for the weak-minded - this is proper music for the strong willed and slightly insane amongst us - 'Dream Token' by Russell Joslin is an intoxicating mix of arrogant honesty and awesome creativity achieved through quality songwriting, stunning performance and, it has to be said, a slightly worrying state of mind! Brilliant!! -


2005 - 12 song demo (sold out)
2007 - Dream Token (album)
Summer 2009 - Jet Black and White (album) - singles 'Dreams and Country Lanes' and 'Penny Bag' played on BBC 6 music



' proof of how fresh, vigorous and abrasive an acoustic songwriter can and should be in the 21st Century.' - Tom Robinson - BBC 6music

Russell began gigging solo around London in 2003, moving from Brighton to be where the music scene was vibrant and plentiful enough for him to cut his teeth. Very soon Russell found himself the solo support act to bands and artists like Dot Allison, Vincent Vincent and the Villains, The Early Years and Scouting for Girls, as well as regularly headlining nights around his adopted stomping ground of New Cross/Deptford in SE London and being booked for BESTIVAL. He was described as a performer capable of inducing 'mild paralysis', able to spellbind audiences with intensely raw material and delivery.

Summer 2007 saw the release of DREAM TOKEN; Russells critically acclaimed debut album: a collection of 12 songs encompassing themes including paranoid nightmares and twisted inner journeys to childlike fairytales and playfully joyous celebrations of simple love. It was put out under Russells own steam and budget on his label 2+2 records. Dream Token represented the culmination of around 4 years of artistic development: writing, recording, travelling, living, dying and playing live, it cemented Russells reputation amongst a small but devoted following and left no real option, and even less desire for future deviation from his course. The album garnered extensive praise in the underground and online music press:

an album of eloquent beauty - August 2007

Explosive, hard hitting folk from a newcomer that will have all other singer songwriters running for cover from his poetic wrath a much needed gust of fresh air into the British folk scene. - - Dream Token Album Review - September 2007

In all Dream token is an album of such intensity and heart felt cathartic gut spilling that you should beg, steal or borrow a copy now. Broodingraucousstrainedgrating a sonic wonderment - 4 out of 5 - - Dream Token Album Review August 2007

He reframes folk's storytelling tradition and brings it kicking and screaming into the 21st century, and is - without doubt - one of the most versatile and riveting young talents on the scene. January 2008

The doors Joslin has opened in his mind through the work ethic established over the past 4 years leave little room for anything but artistic advancementwhether it be through his planned early 2009 sophomore album or his 1 year old ear-shattering two-piece band PRETTY BRICKS. Please get in touch if youd like to know more.