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  • Ed Schmieder

Nick Russell: Sometimes a Song Just Falls into Your Life

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

If a tree falls in a windstorm? Can a song be written about it? Keep reading for the answer.

When I asked him the usual “origin story” question, Nick replied he never thought about making music until, in high school, he saw a video of Jake Shimabukuro playing his ukelele. Jake’s uke was the “tinder” for Nick’s musical fire. The 1998-99 version of a 60s kid hearing Hendrix on the radio. Jake was the man who launched a thousand of ukeleles. And Nick grabbed one of them.

Playing the instrument helped lead Nick to story-teller singer songwriters, and he soon added two more strings as in he learned the guitar. He cut his teeth playing regularly at Five Points in Sayville, the Grey Horse Tavern in Bayport, and in the wilds of Bradstock.

Beyond Shimabukuro, his influences include Bruce Springsteen, and Stephen Kellogg. Nick was lucky enough to be part of a song-writing workshop in Connecticut with Kellogg which felt transformative. (Kellogg is easy to find and listen to on-line, and you might enjoy his ConcordiaUPortland TEDx Talk). I hear a bit of John Mellencamp in Nick’s work, but he says he’s never dug into Mellencamp’s work. Perhaps it’s a similar timbre in their voices that I hear.

Nick’s last album release Talisman (2019) was an album produced by Andy Falco local guitar virtuoso and member of the Grammy award winning band The Infamous Stringdusters. Andy lends his guitar playing to the recording as well. There you will find ten fine songs (one a cover) that clearly capture his growth as a musician and singer-songwriter from his debut 2015 record Time and Place, a recording that Nick sees as juvenilia. If you search Nick on Spotify, you’ll find his most complete catalog including two additional singles, and Nick Russell with Cosmic Orchestra an EP.

There is new work in progress, and Nick knows he’s lucky to be at it. After he married, Nick and his wife moved from Sayville to a house in the Oakdale’s Idle Hours Artists’ Colony. In one of our many windstorms, a tree came down and destroyed the house while he and she were inside. Luckily neither were harmed. Not once but twice, Nick and his wife were fortunate because an elderly neighbor who was selling her house offered to sell it to them furnished. He and his bands’ encore on Thursday night will be a new song: “We Were in the House (When the House Came Down).

Find Nick at

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