For more than three decades, Texas singer-songwriter Shake Russell has been entertaining audiences throughout the region with his unique, Americana style of folk-rock. A prolific songwriter, Russell has written or co-written hundreds of melodies. Through the years, Russell’s songs and albums have frequented the Billboard charts, with many, including Deep in the West, You’ve Got a Lover, Put Yourself in My Shoes, One More Payment, and Our Kind of Love being recorded by such distinguished artists as Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Ricky Skaggs, Clint Black, and Carolyn Dawn Johnson. Ricky Skaggs’ hit recording of You’ve Got a Lover has appeared on three of Skaggs’ albums. In 1983 Shake was commissioned by the Texas State University in San Marcos to write a song, River of Innocence, for a documentary filmed and produced by the university. In 1986, Shake was asked by longtime friend Bruce Bryant, creative producer at Houston television station KTRK, to compose a theme song commemorating the Texas sesquicentennial. He obliged and wrote the regional favorite, Traveling Texas.
Shake is a two-time recipient of the BMI “Million Air” award for Clint Black’s recordings of Put Yourself in My Shoes and One More Payment, both of which he co-wrote with Clint, and a four-time recipient of the BMI Writer’s Award. The Texas Music Association named Shake the “2004 Texas Music Awards Entertainer of the Year” and nominated his song, Cowboy Coffee, for the “2007 Texas Music Awards Best New Song.”
As a left-handed player, Russell taught himself to play upside down in the same way as the legendary folk artist Elizabeth Cotton. Later in his career, Shake would have an opportunity to meet this amazing lady at a performance in Chicago. Before settling in Texas in the mid-70s, Russell’s musical career took him from his hometown of Independence, Missouri, to Kansas City, Houston, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago , Nashville, and the legendary Coconut Grove, a renowned mecca for artists that is often described as the Greenwich Village of the southeast. Notables who significantly influenced Russell’s development as a singer-songwriter were Bob Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, Robbie Robertson, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen, and John Vandiver.
These days, Russell can be seen at any number of Texas venues playing with partner Michael Hearne and bassist Mike Roberts as a trio or performing as a solo act.