Russ Glenn

Russ Glenn

 Detroit, Michigan, USA
BandPop

Fresh, original, (Mostly)acoustic rock. Smart lyrics, catchy hooks, and roots-guitar.

Biography

RUSS GLENN

Imagining 'A Brand New Earth'

While most U.S. based singer-songwriters work on building a Stateside fan base in the hopes of someday playing for audiences overseas, Russ Glenn’s career began with an impromptu performance Down Under. While studying Resource and Environmental Management at a college in Australia, the Southern California bred Glenn was at a club late one night when the house band ran out of songs. They asked for volunteers to come up and play, and he got up and jammed on one of his favorite songs, Jane’s Addiction’s “Jane Says.” Now, some years later, he has recorded that song among ten originals and a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane”on A Brand New Earth, his third and latest independent release.

Glenn has racked up a lot of frequent flier miles between that first stage appearance and his unique addiction to Jane songs and a fully realized band vibe on A Brand New Earth.
He recently moved back to his previous home of Connecticut after several years of successful coffeehouse performing in Virginia. Fashioning a true troubadour lifestyle, he has performed over the years everywhere from New Mexico and Colorado to South Carolina. Critics and tastemakers have remarked that he “writes melodic, soothing odes that crawl inside the recesses of your subconscious and root there for days at a time,” and have compared him to “a fiery version of Van Morrison” with a “Morrissey and Stipe vibe.”

When he’s not out there performing his own material—which has been described as a less braggadocious Dave Matthews or a less hyperactive Jason Mraz—or redefining classics by his heroes The Clash, Johnny Cash, Lou Reed, Van Morrison and Bright Eyes, he can be found at schools and libraries, entertaining children. He followed the release of his 2003 debut album Unless with 2007’s six song EP Little Bird, an inspired collection of Woody Guthrie’s “Grow Big” songs refashioned in a fresh, modern voice for today’s kids. The success of this project led him to create a unique “edutainment” program that he has performed at camp expos, private shows, public libraries and pre-schools.

The father of two daughters under the age of ten, Glenn enjoys the exciting duality of using music to inspire young children and drawing on his lifelong love of The Clash’s Joe Strummer and Lou Reed to create exciting acoustic rock for adult audiences. “My live sets focus on original material,” he says, “but through the years I have incorporated into my sets covers by The Velvet Underground, Jack Johnson, Bob Dylan, R.E.M., Red House Painters, you name it. It’s exhilarating connecting people to musical history, and that’s what I do in another way with the Guthrie songs. I’m introducing the kids to the great work of a legendary songwriter, and show their parents that he’s a lot more than just the guy who wrote ‘This Land Is Your Land.’ I feel as though I’m drawing on all of these great artists of the past in writing and performing my original material as well.”

While Glenn’s first two recordings were pretty much acoustic guitar and vocal driven, A Brand New Earth is a larger production with a full band approach. True to its title, the collection has a subtle underlying theme of environmental consciousness running throughout. “They’re not strictly songs about the environment,” he says, “but as with my previous work, there is always that thread. I feel we’re in an age that’s on the cusp of something new, even if I don’t know exactly where that is going.” Over the years, Glenn’s songwriting has evolved from the deeply personal/confessional to incorporating his observations of the lives of people around him.

“Goodbye” is a revamped song from an older demo he did a few years back that he felt was a worthy inclusion alongside the brand new material; in the vein of Lou Reed’s “Stephanie Says,” it’s an open ended reflection about a beautiful woman with a troubled past. The infectious opening number “Stick” is a vaguely politica

Lyrics

The Path To The Gallows

Written By: Russ Glenn

He was a simple man in complex times
Did what he thought right, to fight
Forget the odds, and armed the slaves
They holed up for days and days

They paid, they paid
On the path to the gallows he said,
"This is a very beautiful world, I never noticed it before"

It was a hot day, in Harper's Ferry
He'd seen all he could of beatings today
He never meant, nor had the inclination
Of swaying the course or the history of this nation

He paid, he paid
On the steps of the gallows he said,
"This is a very beautiful world, I never noticed it before"

All these things that we feel so deep
Even the courageous can be brought to weep
But would you be willing to give this life
In pursuit of what you knew was right?

Well meant, well said
On the darkest paths that you fear to tread

"This is a very beautiful world, I never noticed it before"

Blind

Written By: Russ Glenn/Starshell Music (ASCAP)

Such a long time ago and such a good time
I could’ve gone on forever with just those memories, but
I saw you the other day on the street
I had to catch my breath
I had to find my feet
Ripped me back to that Friday in the fall
Where only ghosts of memories still haunt
I had to ask myself again x2
I had to ask myself once again if…

Maybe I was blind
Maybe I was thoughtless
I’m not thinking about you at all
Maybe it just wasn’t the right time for us
Maybe I was blind
Maybe I was thoughtless
I’m not thinking about you at all
Maybe I burnt this bridge between us

So I sit, I stare at the wall as you stand up
All our potential has turned into dust
And the future where together we grow old
Is a story that’s never to be told
And you never even cast a backward glance
As you always say “You only get one chance”
And I had mine, you had yours
We had ours, lost in time

Maybe I was blind
Maybe I was thoughtless
I’m not thinking about you at all
Maybe I built this wall before us
Maybe I was blind
Maybe I was thoughtless
I’m not thinking about you at all
Maybe I killed this love between us

Goodbye

Written By: Russ Glenn/Starshell Music (ASCAP)

She wanders through an empty waste of life
She never knew which way to turn
Her father used to hit her once, or maybe twice
She never knew which way to turn
But she’s so sure of her brother and the voice on the end of the line, that says
“This is the time, this is the time. To make a right move, this is the time”

She said,
“Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye”

She wonders once or maybe twice
As she wanders through this city waste of life
Did she make the right move, this time?
When spoken to, “Everything it falls through”, she says
When spoken to, “Everything it falls through”, she says
When spoken to, “Everything it falls through”, she says
When spoken to, “Everything it falls through”

She says,
“Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye”

I feel about a million miles from you
I feel a million miles from me
With an ocean in between
With an ocean in between
I’m gonna build myself a boat
I’m gonna find myself a sea x2
She says, she says, she says x2

She said,
“Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye”

This Land

Written By: Russ Glenn

I was walking to the bar
Just the other night
Decided it was too far took a shortcut through this guy's yard
He came out with a shotgun in his hands, he says
"Get off this property, so this is my land"
I said to him, as I turned my tail and ran I said
"This land is not yours, but you'll inherit it, as a matter of course"

This is not my land, this is not your land
It belongs to you and me, when we're buried deep down in the sand
This is not my land, this is not your land
It belongs to no one, which is something we just cannot understand

So we put up our fences, we sell it off in blocks
We put up heavy iron gates, with heavy iron locks
We clear the forests to make room for ourselves but we
Don't leave no space for anything else

This is not my land, this is not your land
It belongs to you and me, when we're buried deep down in the sand
This is not my land, this is not your land
It belongs to no one, which is something we just cannot understand

So we drive on, singing the progress song
This road is so smooth and well paved
But can we make it behave?

In a couple of thousand years and there's nothing left of us
'Cept a layer of sediment, cigarette butts and rust
I hope someone comes along and buys up all this dirt
Ships it off to Mars and starts a Brand New Earth

This is not my land, this is not your land
It belongs to you and me, when we're buried deep down in the sand
This is not my land, this is not your land
It belongs to no one, which is something we just cannot understand

Discography

Starshell- 1996
Evergold- 1997
Unless- 2003 (Contains Starshell and Evergold encoded as MP3's on disc).
Little Bird (a collection of Woody Guthrie's Grow Big Songs)- Released December 2006
A Brand New Earth- July 2007

Set List

Typical set is 45 min- 1 hour
Usually perform 2 sets for a show
Typical set list:
Original Songs:
Blind
Stick
Brazil
(Don't Say) Goodnight
All These Small Steps
Curbside
This Land is Not
The Path to the Gallows
Point of View
Space
The Bridge is Up
I'll Never Leave You
Your Birthday
Water Blue
Goodbye
Flagstaff

Covers:
Sweet Thing- Van Morrison
The Only Living Boy in New York- Paul Simon
Redemption Song- Bob Marley
Rock Art and the X-Ray Style- Joe Strummer
Sweet Jane- The Velvet Underground
The Emperor's New Clothes- Sinead O'Connor
Angel from Montgomery- John Prine