You might not know Luther Russell by name, but you’ve probably heard music he’s made with the likes of Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers), Jody Stephens (Big Star), Brian Bell (Weezer), Ethan Johns (Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams) and countless others. Selective Memories: An Anthology, out February 23 on Hanky Panky, is a two-CD compilation of Russell’s material that’s a stellar introduction for newcomers to this musician’s musician. Russell will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.
Russell: Being a die-hard Replacements fan, I rushed out to buy this tome by great Memphis writer Bob Mehr. How could it not be a well-researched, thoughtful and empathetic portrait of one of the most brilliant and fucked-up bands in history? Well, it was so much more. It’s an example of what a rock bio can be when it is searching and driving and relentlessly works its way to the truth. And the truth is: You thought the Who were dysfunctional?? Ha ha. The Replacements were fucking meta. When there was nothing left to burn, they found a way to burn a little more. God, and those songs. That’s the amazing thing about Westerberg; you learn that he must have fed off the chaos, for where else could his witty blood letters come from? The book goes a long way to fleshing-out his and his bandmates backgrounds and sets a bleak, yet extraordinary context for how this desperate music inspired a generation to take its ’80s ennui and turn it into something creative. I’ll forever be altered by this band and its amazing spirit, hooks and soul. And this book explained to me the reason why.