It was the fall of 1973 and a 10 year old boy stood outside his home in Four Oaks, N.C. mesmerized by the sound of the banjo and guitar. His older brother and his brother’s college roommate were sitting on the family‘s picnic table playing and singing bluegrass songs. “It may have been the first live music I was ever exposed to.” said Russell. That Christmas he had a guitar under the tree and after his brother taught him the basic chords, he began his musical journey. Almost 9 years later as a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he got his first mandolin and started playing in local jam sessions.

His first “official” show was in August of 1989 and he knew immediately that playing and singing would be a part of his life. Since then Russell has worn a lot of different hats in the music business such as singer, songwriter, producer, mandolinist, recording and sound engineer, band leader, record label and studio owner. His original songs have reached the top of the charts, with eleven of his compositions landing on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey. (Including two #1 singles for the Grass Cats; "Bluegrass Man" #1 in April and May 2003 and “A Good Way To Get The Blues" #1 in June, July and August 2010. Pill or Potion from their 2006 CD project Home to Carolina reached #2 in October of 2007). The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) has twice nominated him for Songwriter of the year in 2004 and 2011. As a producer he has 5 Top 10 CD’s to his credit. As the emcee and front man of the 90’s group, New Vintage and currently The Grass Cats he has performed throughout much of the United States and Canada. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine said that his voice “has got that ‘lonesome’ quality that makes even a just written tune sound a hundred years old.” and placed him in "the first ranks of contemporary bluegrass."