Russ Kendrick Martin is a road-wise artist with a whiskey throat and a ripped-from-the-headlines edge to his songwriting. His style is best described as gritty, quirky, honest and familiar. He has performed on stages in the biggest music centers in the U.S., including Nashville, TN and Athens, Ga.
Martin attributes his success as a songwriter and performer to his list of work experiences. A native of Southern Michigan, Russ has worked as a carpenter, welder, truck driver, farm hand and, for the past decade, as a broadcast news journalist at a small town radio station. Martin says, “Radio news is one really good way to get a glimpse at the way the World works. Broadcast writing requires brevity so it also helped me sharpen the tools I need to put my experiences and observations into words.” Martin uses the experience to craft songs that tell stories that are bigger than the space they occupy.
Martin was surrounded by music as a child. His mother, Dorothy Martin, was a gospel singer and guitarist. It was through his father, Kendrick Martin, that Russ discovered acts that included Johnny Cash; Bill Monroe; Roger Miller; Merle Haggard; The Osborne Brothers; Ralph Stanley; Creedence Clearwater Revival and other Country, Bluegrass and Rock & Roll greats.
Russ joined country-rock band Stampede, in 1993. It was with Stampede that a musical identity began to take shape. The band drew from the country & bluegrass influences of Martin's youth, adding them to the influences of Southern Rock and Blues. The core members of Stampede re-formed to release an album under the name Rail in 2000. The band found moderate success with the album, American Dream. After touring in support of American Dream, Rail disbanded in 2002.
Martin continued to perform as a solo acoustic act after the separation. He also continued to write new songs, collecting a number of tunes in his catalog over the next decade, as he focused on raising his family.
Russ released his debut solo album, Carburetor, in Spring 2015. The album features songs that span the length of his musical career and the width of his life's experiences. From the guitar-driven rock of Trailer Trash Girl, to the hardcore twang of Girls, Guns & Guitars, to the deep ballads What's The Matter With Michelle and (I Want To) Die of A Broken Heart, the album is steeped in Real-Life and peppered with bits of Martin's quirky wit. Brian Reusch, of WCCI Radio in Savanna, IL, had this to say about the album, “Russ Kendrick Martin showcases his wide ranging talent—from his distinctive vocals to his knack for writing about real life—in his debut album Carburetor. With a mix of classic country sound and healthy doses of indie rock and today's country edge, there's something for everyone."
Martin's live performances are laid back, engaging the audience in the songs and the atmosphere. His delivery is understated and instantly familiar. Listeners often find themselves singing along with songs they're hearing for the first time.