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About

Luther Russell is a songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who was born  in Los Angeles, California. His career began with DGC and American recording artists The Freewheelers twenty-five years ago. As a solo artist he has released an eclectic series of albums that range from folk-rock to power-pop…and even funk. His latest, The Invisible Audience, is a kaleidoscopic double-album which won raves across the board. As producer he has worked with many critically acclaimed artists such as Richmond Fontaine, Fernando, Sarabeth Tucek and Ned Roberts. Luther’s albums and production work for others have been praised by the likes of Uncut, Mojo, Word, BBC, Tape Op, L.A. Times, NME, The Quietus and more. His music has been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO and Showtime. Luther’s latest project is Those Pretty Wrongs, a duo with Jody Stephens of the legendary group Big Star. Their self-titled full-length was released on Ardent/Burger to ecstatic reviews and they’ve since toured four continents. Luther also co-wrote two songs for Weezer’s recent Grammy-nominated self-titled record.  A 2xCD retrospective of his career entitled Selective Memories: An Anthology is released this Sept. on Hanky Panky Records, as well as a double-cassette version on Burger Records in Oct., then full digital release in the new year. Luther’s 6th studio album, Medium Cool, is due early next year. He is currently playing guitar in Robyn Hitchcock’s current backing group, The L.A. Squires. He is a Sagittarius.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Larry R. Baysinger permalink
    January 18, 2011 6:24 pm

    Just a line or two to say “thanks” for the “End Rant” in the current issue ( #81) of Tape Op magazine. As an old (72 !), retired (after 45-years ) professional broadcast engineer, I learned my craft on analog acetate disc, 1/4″ mono and 2-track stereo reel-to-reel tape, and finally, shoved kicking and screaming into the “digital domain” of DAT and Mini Disc ! Tell you what, I still love – and use – my Tascam 414 mkII PortaStudio for tracking, Tascam 112R mk II for mixdown,and as a last consession to the “revolution”, My SuperScope to “burn” a stereo master CD !
    Now, if my “pickin’ ” skills were just nearly as good as the old equipment is capable of capturing, I would be a happy camper ( or recordist, as the case may be! ).

    Larry, the Kentucky Thumbpicker

  2. January 20, 2011 6:37 am

    i liked the article too. it has me tempted to buy a four track. even though I have all this pro tools stuff. there is something to be said for not staring at a computer screen

  3. January 23, 2011 10:48 pm

    I really loved your column in the most recent issue of Tape Op!

    Though I became a musician in my teens, I didn’t start making my own recordings until my late 20s. ProTools was all the rage at the time, the Digi 001 had just been release and I had a Mac G4, so it seemed like the perfect match.

    All of this new technology, however, combined with my general lack of recording experience proved to a far less than a perfect arrangement. It was kind of like a caveman trying to wrangle an ICBM.

    I sold the Digi 001, tried a couple of other digital formats with varying degrees of success, and then, via eBay (the bastion and prime facilitator of my recording hobby/passion/obsession), I picked up a Tascam 4-track. It’s the cool one with 8 inputs and and the “extra” 5th track/channel strip (I can’t remember the number anymore).

    I absolutely loved it. I was so comfortable using it, the process felt so natural and the feature just made sense. And to this day, I can’t get the same vocal sound from any digital set-up.

    I’m back to ProTools with an Mbox on the Mac. The general ease of use and quickness with editing and mixing is great, but i still miss that Tascam. It had such a natural quality to the sound that’s missing in the digital realm.

    Anyway, thanks for the column, it brought back a flood of fantastic memories, and I’m glad to hear that others have shared the same love affair with the 4-track cassette recorder!

    • January 23, 2011 11:04 pm

      Hey Ryan, Thanks for the comments… Really glad the article has reached a few people
      in a positive way….I was curious as hell to know if there were some folks out there who
      shared the same experiences and/or just wanted the damn things to stick around in some way!
      The point is probably that the four-track cassette is a sort of microcosm for a solid way to approach recording:
      that is to say: simplicity leading to decisions, real tape distortion & loads of fun.

  4. January 29, 2011 8:25 pm

    Thanks for writing Four Tracks and an Attitude,

    I love Tape-Op and have learned so much (I think) yet when I bought a new computer a iMac (Mid July 2010 model) in August 2010) my audio-interface did not have Snow Leopard Drivers and I was overwhelmed with the amount of options out there, USB 2.0 , Firewire 400 (or both in same Audio Interface) and still selling USB 1.1 which I am still puzzled about. I read up on Manufacturer sites, Magazine online sites,(Recording.com SoundonSound.com, Music Gear sites (Harmony-Central) I even bought one and returned it (unopened) and this was after months of research !, Reading Your article grounded my anxiety , I have a Teac Porta 2 (which is mint, and unused, have it in the original box, plastic sealed 4 track, cables, power supply,manual (not sealed)) I bought it then bought a USB Audio Interface (one that has no drivers for OSX 10.6) I loved each and every reason-rationale and will check out your site, Thanks Man, Saved me a panic attack! (Wish I read it in say Sept2010 ha 🙂 Peace , You write very well, now to check out the sounds, I kept wondering too why a Casiotone MT-40 I have is worth more than when I got it in the 1980’s(learned that in Sound on Sounds 25th anniversary issue) King Jammy and Wayne Smith ‘Sleng Teng ‘ 1985 (SOS Nov 2010 page 186 , a simple 4 note bass line and somewhat naff electronic drums (regge-dancehall music and genres derived from it including grime, dubstep and jungle come courtesy of the Casiotone MT-40 (quoting Chriss Korff in the SOS article and the above song “Sleng-Teng” was the first track or “riddim” to be entirely produced electronically , then sang over by vocalists (I did a poor job describing the Casiotone MT-40 and Sleng Tang by King Jammy& Wayne Smith
    (sorry) but thanks for writing one of the best Tape Op articles that was 1) interesting and 2) made me laugh afterwords once it sunk in in regards to my futile search of late
    *I have my eyes on a USB 2.0 ART Dual Tube Pre from Winter Namm and it looks just right and has no alarms, bells, clocks, jets,whistles, jitter what ever nor seatbelts!
    ambienttales

  5. February 2, 2011 8:26 pm

    I just retrieved my Fostex X-26 from obscurity, along with many (but not all, alas) of my recordings from Sophmore year in high school onward to the late 90’s. It was fun enough listening back to all the stuff, but your article got me excited to record once again with the lil’ beast.
    At one point track 4 stopped be able to erase, making it essentially a track with infinite overdubs…unless you f*cked up, because you couldn’t fix it if you did.
    thanks for the inspiration!
    Steve

    • February 3, 2011 3:00 am

      that’s very cool, steve…glad i could be of some inspiration to whip out some old cassettes!

  6. February 3, 2011 2:52 am

    Hey Luther,
    Thanks for great the End Rant (Tape Op #81.) I have been recording myself and bands for going on over 30 years now and agree with your thoughts on the magic that can occur due to limitations. Early on I was tracking full bands on my two channel cassette with wonderful results. This mode of documentation prompted me very early on to be mindful of my micing/tracking practices because punch-ins or “fixing it in the mix” were NOT options. Much later my Tascam Portastudio 424 MkII was used in pretty much the same manner (WOW! 4 tracks!) Like most, I have ventured into the digital world (iMac/Logic/Tascam US-2000) but recently decided to pull out the trusty 424 to add drums and fretless bass to a friends demo track and fell in love all over again. It lent so well to the dark mood of the track and pushed both myself and the bassist to “nail it” from the get go. No plug-in’s, punch in’s…just a heart felt performance. It reminded us both of how much we missed the process and the lack of options (not to mention that wonderful tape compression.) Simple yet beautiful. Your article confirmed what we already knew but somewhat forgot. We are currently brainstorming new ways to reintroduce the four track back into our recording bag of tricks. It’s true, less is more! Thanks again.

    • February 3, 2011 2:56 am

      that is really nice to hear, francis…

      remember, all the recording mediums are valid, i think we just have to keep our options in check
      in order to preserve a sense of performance,

      cheers, luther

  7. February 10, 2011 5:52 am

    Hey Luther–

    I’ve been an avid Tape Op reader for a little while now, and I just wanted to say that I LOVED your article about the Tascam Portastudio. I just found one on Craigslist and am excited to get it going.

    The model I’m looking at is the Portastudio 424 MkII, and I was wondering if that’s the same model you use.

    I assume it is, but thought I’d ask anyway–No worries if you can’t respond!

    I look forward to reading your next Tape Op contribution–your wisdom is inspiring!

    Thanks man!
    Theo

    • February 10, 2011 7:08 am

      thanks theo!
      yeah it’s the 424…can’t remember if it’s the mkII
      it’s grey…
      anyway, thanks for th ekind words, sir

      L

  8. March 24, 2011 10:57 pm

    Your songs and singing are great and I’ve heard great things about the piece you wrote for Tape Op; alas, my subscription lapsed before I could receive that issue. Is your article posted online anywhere and if not would you consider posting it here at your site? Thanks!

    • March 25, 2011 1:08 am

      thanks very much, silver phial (and i presume gene clark fan)…
      i will think about posting that article, maybe further writings.
      i have a new article i am readying for tapeop.com.

  9. September 14, 2011 6:32 pm

    Just read your blog on Federale from last year (January 2010).
    If you ever want copies of any of the shows I recorded during my time following you guys to Ohio, South Carolina, Ventura and L.A., drop me a line. (I have the shows from Bogarts in Ohio, that second story bar in Spartenberg, South Carolina, the show in Ventura, CA — Nickelby’s??, and the show at the Viper Room… they were all great. I also have a few others taped by other fans.)

    I can’t believe it has been so long since our paths have crossed, but I’m already looking forward to the next time.

    Craig

  10. February 24, 2016 11:52 pm

    Luther, I heard “Down at Kit’s” playing in a record shop when it was released, and instantly had to buy it. It’s been a mainstay in my life ever since, and is definitely in my top 10 desert island discs.

    Would love to hear more of the same (from you!), or at least get some recs of other bands/albums of a similar vibe.

    Glad you’re still making music.

  11. James permalink
    June 25, 2016 5:09 pm

    Is this who u want to be? Alone standing by yourself?

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