Canadian Country-Rock recording artist, Russell Lee, has been on a run this year. He has performed a full set-list at the world-renowned Dauphin, Manitoba CountryFest. The music video for his previous single “Picture” reached over 500,000 views on YouTube, and to top it all, Russell has been nominated for six awards at the Manitoba Country Music Awards (Male Artist Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Emerging Artist Award, Music Video Of The Year, Single Of The Year and Fan’s Choice). Relentlessly though, Russell Lee continues his ongoing momentum without resting on his laurels. And as such, has released the first single, “Meant To Be”, from his upcoming album.
It becomes clear from the opening bars of “Meant To Be” that the name Russell Lee belongs smack dab in the mix when you’re speculating on who is the best and the brightest in the current crop of insurgent country songwriters and performers.
The first thing you notice about Russell’s music is that familiar “somewhat country, somewhat rock” sound indicative of his crossover capabilities. The arrangements are sensible, with a batch of electric guitars comprising the foundation, though not being afraid to mix in some keyboards and other country elements.
Russell’s voice is twangy, but not too overstated. You do get the feeling he wants you to know he’s country, but he’s not trying to prove to you how country he is as some who make the genre’s circuit in their perfect Wrangler shirts and jeans do; he’s a lot more laid back than that.
But this is country music, both honoring and indicative, while sweetening the sound enough to appeal to a wider ear. To be perfectly honest, the music set to Russell Lee’s songs is not what wants to separate him from the herd.
As he doesn’t take any wild chances on left-field sounds and prefers to roughly stick to the genre’s already large boundaries. It’s really the straight off the cuff songwriting that makes Russell Lee contrast from the crowd in both modern country and beyond.
“Meant To Be” is deftly-written in the classic storyteller sense about “the destiny of love through the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Russell Lee, very much the mature artist, knows exactly how to balance his songwriting between being sensible and being substantive.
Playing the lines between the two, means he really appeals in large part to either. I really like the track because the lyrics in the song are so simple and true. For me words mean something, and this song speaks truths.
But it does so without overelaborate poetry. Sometimes you just need a song that talks straight – from, and to, the heart – and this one does. In a world of Luke Bryans and Jason Aldeans, I can tell you that Russell Lee is really a breath of fresh air!
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To contact or book Russell Lee for a show, please email: Russell@russelllee.ca