It’s been a little surreal for Kirk Russell to see his name on the Crown Uptown marquee for the past month or so.
“I drive by and see it and say, ‘Is that really my name up there?’ ” he said. “It’s going to be great.”
Russell, a well-known multi-instrumentalist on the Wichita music scene, is releasing a self-produced CD at the Crown Uptown this Saturday.
On that CD, Russell – who is perhaps best known as a drummer for local bands such as Annie Up and the Cherokee Maidens – does more than just drum. He also plays guitar and bass.
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It’s rare for a musician to have the chops to play three different instruments at recording quality, said Carter Green, owner of Wellington-based Greenjeans Studios, where Russell cut his record.
“Very, very few people I’ve met in my career have mastered the primary instruments of rock and roll,” Green said. “A lot of people can play all three, but to do them at the professional level takes a lifetime of work.”
Green, who has been friends with Russell for 20 years, said he often calls Russell when he needs a session musician.
“Kirk is absolutely one of the most gifted musicians I have ever met in my entire career, and I don’t say that lightly,” Green said. “He absolutely is the master of guitar, bass and drums, unequivocally. ... The guy is so flexible and versatile – he’s equally at home playing a modern country track to playing rock or jazz. There’s nothing the guy can’t do.”
Four different singers provided vocals for the album – two locals, Jake Moss and Shannon Grate, Los Angeles’ Adit Rao and Lori Oz out of Burlington, Vt.
Some of the vocals were recorded remotely and delivered over the internet – sort of a modern-day Postal Service method.
At the show, others will cover the guest vocal parts, Russell said.
The CD is “rock and roll to a T,” he said. Not other artists’ rock and roll, either – original work.
“It’s got some neat guitar work on it – some of my best playing I’ve done to date,” Russell said.
Green said the album sounds “like a million bucks – the record itself doesn’t sound like it was recorded around here. It sounds like a major-label release.”
More than 200 tickets have already been sold. The $15 admission gets you a free copy of the album “In the Wake.”
Russell said his goal is simply to share his music with people – he’s not looking for fame or fortune.
“I feel blessed. ... I’m 46 years old, and I’ve been doing this a lot of years,” he said. “I’ve gotten to play with nothing but fantastic musicians. ... Here’s another cool venue I get to go play, and people are going to come to the show – whether it’s one person, 200 or 500 people, we’re going to rock their faces off.”
Kirk Russell CD release show
When: Doors open 6:30 p.m. Sat., show starts 7:30 p.m. Sat.
Where: Crown Uptown Theatre, 3207 E. Douglas
What: Release party for multi-instrumentalist Kirk Russell’s album “In the Wake.” Admission to the show includes a copy of the CD.