Brad Russell's debut solo album, "Let's Hear It" (featuring Joe Satriani and Gregg Bissonette) is six mind blowing tunes that just might change your mind about the role of the bass as a support-only groove. Russell puts his 4-string Warwick through a gruelling pace as lead instrument, with his tremolo bridge, effect pedals, loopers, and all! The result is a barrage of thunder-laden bombshells that are guaranteed to resonate deep down in the heart of bass players everywhere.
Though Russell's website is down, it did list the impressive roster of musicians with whom he has worked, this is his first voyage down the solo road and every song on "Let's Hear It" is a smoker. Get ready for the bass like you've never heard it before! Opening song, Seven Shred , explodes out of the gate with an intensity that leaves you demanding more! It's hard and heavy on the bass, but also has a tasty melody to flesh out that thunderous bottom end. Bissonette on drums is a wonder on every song, but this one is my fave of all his performances on the album. It demonstrates the real meshing between drums and bass. Second up is the bassiest, most aggressive version of Michael Jackson's Beat It that you'll ever hear!
Third song, Zattack , is unbelievable; it starts with a serious riff-off between Russell and Satriani - a scorching contest that reminds me of the Butler/Iommi showdowns on N.I.B. After that, Russell shows us big-time what a bass guitar can do on its own.
Brothers is what I call the "ballad" of the album. Slow and psychedelic, very sweeping. To me, Russell is what David Gilmour would sound like if he played bass. There's also a magnificent, crying guitar solo by Kevin Russell. To these ears, this song is the most emotional, fiery piece of the album.
Next is Hello Jeff , which starts out with a fast and funky slap, but then eases on down to a very growly, teeth-grinding bass mix. The sounds go back and forth in grove after groove of pure foot-stomping thunder! It's also another of those great partnerships between Russell and Bissonette.
Closing up the session is Native Tongue , featuring Steve Kindler on the electric violin. What a great add-on to an already mind-bending sound. The bass in this song is melodic enough on its own; blend in that violin and you have a soaring finale to an album of delicious bass creations that set the bar higher (and lower) than it's been before!
I highly recommend wrapping your ears around Brad Russell's "Let's Hear It".
Available on Digital Nations, Amazon, iTunes, and wherever the thunder rolls!
© 2012 CL seamus for Thunder Row
Brad Russell's YouTube Channel - he features videos as well as some helpful bass tips! Be sure to drop by!