Luther Russell

(Ungawa/Adrenaline Music Group 2007)Luther Russell - Repair

On "Repair" Luther Russell, the former frontman of The Free Wheelers, tries to come to terms with his best friend's death, his divorce and an accident which nearly cost him his right hand. But through all of the traumas, Russell somehow pulls it together with assistance from producer Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams).

Bouncy melodies and lightly pounding piano put a pop twist on the otherwise unassuming soft rock of tracks like "Rise And Shine" and "My Own Blood." Light background vocals accent "Lightning Strikes" for a Sebadoh-like sound with warm melodic riffs. Elsewhere, on "Parachute" Russell plays with dynamics, building the barely audible melody into a full one driven by slide guitar and steady drumming while "When Your Way Gets Dark" gives him a chance to rock on the blues inspired tune. Russell pulls things together with the swirling folk infused "Nothing Else Remains," the song's sharp melody leading the charge.

There is something distinctly Lennon-esque about Luther Russell's fourth solo album. A little bit John and a little bit Julian, Russell rolls a number of 60s and 70s favorites into his music to serve as inspiration. Russell seems in complete control of himself and his vocals throughout the album, a fact that sometimes seems at odd with his lyrics as he never really lets himself go. Although the outside influences are clear on "Repair" it never becomes too much, as the light melodies are ever changing with hints of blues and folk.