Bullet Backstory – An Interview with Shinyribs

This is a new series we’ve started here on the WDVX blog. It shares five bullet point facts to provide some backstory about an artist in his or her own words. For this edition of “Bullet Backstory” we sat down with Kevin Russell of Shinyribs to share a bit more about his influences and insight about music.

Shiny ribs

Russell’s musical journey began in Beaumont,TX when, at 14, he found his father’s guitar under his bed. It was in Shreveport, Louisiana that he formed his first band, Picket Line Coyotes. Later, he ended up in Austin where The Gourds were born and gave him a great 18-year run. Since then, Russell has been riding high “on the Shinyribs river of country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle.”

If you haven’t seen Shinyribs up close in person, come on out to Tennessee Shines on April 27th to see them play. The band will also be at Merlefest, April 28th thru May 1st.

Here’s the Bullet Backstory…we hope you enjoy!

  • Biggest musical influences – Waylon, early Michael Jackson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Replacements, Tom Waits, James Brown and Al Green.
  • What made you decide to pursue music as a career? – I had the dream when I was just a boy. I believe it was after I saw Elvis Presley in Lake Charles, LA. when I was 8 years old. That’s when I knew I wanted to be on the stage singing and dancing.
  • What advice do you have for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft? Listen to everything and pay close attention to the song structure, the emotional energy and the sound of music. Too many times people focus on imitating an image and the style of the music that inspires them. This is fine. But, dig a little deeper to find the raw humanity at the core of great music. Know your history too. Seek out new music from the past. Follow the threads the universe drops in front of you. Be awake, as awake and as aware as possible. Life is a mystery, explore it from the inside out.
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? Go to the historic districts like Gay St, Fort Sanders, thrift stores, music stores, book stores.
  • If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? James Brown fascinates me. I would love to sit in on a session where he actually sculpts songs out of grooves and band jams. I would love to watch him conduct that old In The Jungle Groove band. His method was so utterly irreverent, unpredictable and genius. Somehow the pure force of his personality shaped the music made by his band of the best players.