“"Let your faith –the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of that music which has yet to be heard– guide you. For Sam Russell is the light."” - Sean Jewell
— American Standard Time
Sam Russell & The Harborrats are a beloved long-time Seattle institution, distilling vintage rock n’ roll, classic soul & modern pop to create music that is in equal measure joyful, introspective & transcendent.
Sam is joined by Ken Nottingham (vocals, bass, bouzouki, keyboards & harmonica) and Aimee Zoe (vocals, drums, percussion & keyboards), together confidentially showcasing their musical versatility and signature blend of humor + intensity.
The band has a vast repertoire of originals & covers from the entire history of rock n’ roll and pop music, arranged with throwback tinges of 50s/60s stylings while preserving the soul of the song, with such eclectic examples as:
-1950s doo-wop & vintage rock n’ roll (Buddy Holly, Little Richard)
-1960s garage-rock + space-age pop + girl-group (? & The Mysterians, Henry Mancini, The Ronettes)
-PLUS!!! 1970s disco! 1980s synth-pop! 1990s indie/shoegaze! 2000s through 2020s modern pop!
Sam’s elastic vocals bridge these styles by effortlessly switching from delicate falsetto to gritty soul to low soft-spoken croon at a moment’s notice, reminiscent of David Bowie, Van Morrison and Jack White while performing his own songs or reinterpreting another artist’s work. Says Sam:
“Ray Charles once said when you’re singing a song, it doesn’t matter whether you wrote it or not. It’s YOUR song and your job as the singer and band is to make it yours.”
Their last album Ocean Shores from 2021 includes as bonus tracks Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” turned into a rockabilly rave-up, Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” transformed into glam-rock floor-filler and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” into a slinky disco-groove. The album enjoyed national and international airplay, including KEXP and KBCS in the band’s base of Seattle, with original songs focusing on themes of deeply personal themes of melancholy and regret in the Covid-era.
Since 2006, the band has recorded 7 albums of primarily original material leading them to share the stage with Fleet Foxes, Violent Femmes, Mudhoney, Ben Gibbard, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, La Luz, Archie Bronson Outfit, The Fastbacks, Red Elvises, Graham Parker and members of Pearl Jam & Soundgarden at some of the Pacific Northwest’s most prestigious venues and across the nation.
In the summer of 2023, the band toured the Midwest and launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $ for their ambitious LOSE YOUR ILLUSION project, comprised of songs written throughout Covid lockdown up to the present expanding on the themes of Ocean Shores and their previous work. They released preview singles from the project of “Shake Off the Shame” & ”You Like Me So Much More (Than You Think You Do” (also called the High Summer EP) and “The Perfect Sunflower” single in June,
The band will be launching a Patreon page in spring 2024 to further raise funds and connect about the project through video updates and song snippets while giving fans first-listens to upcoming new singles!
See Sam & band live by checking our their upcoming live dates or book them for YOUR event by clicking link below!
PRIVATE BOOKING INFO
"more a garage-soul band more than anything, but they work in lots of other stuff. (Sam) has loads of stage presence and a strong voice"
Don Slack, KEXP 90.3, Seattle
"Russell is a real rarity in any music scene: a genuine, captivating performer who’s part preacher, part timeless rock and roller who always seems to generate genuine electricity on stage....He’s a refreshing original in this town who’s, somehow, already a star – the rest of us just haven’t figured it out yet."
Jon Rooney, Nada Mucho
"It's easy to be icked out by the term "blue-eyed soul". It conjures images of middle-aged white dudes raping the soul of Sam Cooke and it's been applied to everyone from yacht-rocker Michael McDonald to the Off the Wall stylings of Justin Timberlake. But in the case of Sam Russell's Harborrats, whose past EP's have run the rootsy gamut between the Killer and the Boss, the term is apt."
Ma'chell Duma, Seattle Weekly
"Sam Russell is a performer an audience loves, and just about every musician is loath to follow."
Bart Cameron, Ball of Wax Quarterly
"the doo-wopping local boys in Sam Russell & the Harborrats defy rockabilly cliché and show promise with their unaffected take on blue-eyed soul and rock..."
Hannah Levin, The Stranger
"a Midwestern bizarro version of Springsteen’s Asbury Park circa “The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.”......Like so many artists you gravitate toward, the river runs deep in Russell"
Paddy FIneran, Kenosha News
"As a vocalist he can deliver folk songs, soul songs and rockers....As a songwriter, he seems to have no genre boundaries, and has the ability to write songs that sound like classics from the first listen."
When You Motor Away....blog