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: Liam Hayes is an artist I’ve followed ever since he released debut record More You Becomes You in 1998 under the moniker Plush. I’ve often called this record the “best album of the ’90s,” but I guess most fans of OK Computer would disagree mightily. And as remarkable an achievement as some of the other perennials of that misremembered and misbegotten era are, More You Becomes You occupies an intimate place in my own heart. What seems like an almost stream-of-consciousness piece for piano/voice is revealed over many listens to be a complex reconstruction of thoughts and feelings as they might have happened once upon a time. There are obvious signpost influences along the way that many have mentioned, but I prefer to ruminate on the uniqueness of Liam Hayes and how he transmits his musical outpourings: with lyrical style and harmonic sophistication. He went on to record many other top-quality albums, and imagine my surprise to be working with him now on not one, but two new records. What I’m excited about is a new album called Mirage Garage, which I helped him record and perform. For me, it sets a new bar for Liam’s music and is as personal as anything he’s done. But it’s also an LP about the quandary that faces today’s modern human. It should be out sometime next year, after a slate of Liam Hayes/Plush reissues, so look for that!