Shinyribs defies genres as a sonic melting pot of Texas Blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn driven Memphis Soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, and roots-rock. The  Austin-based nine-piece (sometimes 10-piece) supergroup is led by Kevin Russell, the  charismatic frontman with colorful suits and extravagant shoes who continuously swaps out an  electric guitar for a ukulele and never falls short of creating a cinematic experience with on stage antics that often include him donning a light-up cloak or leading a conga line through the  crowd. 

“Sweetening,” the first single from the latest album Late Night TV Gold, is a different subject  matter for Russell, “I don’t write a lot of love songs. But when I do they are sweet as hell. This  one came pure from the spigot of my stupid romantic heart. The golden rays of light shining  down through the wet magnolias onto a plate of peaches; the first rain after a long drought.  Nothing like falling in love. If they could bottle it I am sure we would make laws against it.” 

Late Night TV Gold is filled with Caribbean organs, verbed-out distant delay vocals, chunky  fatback guitars, dance hall horns, trip-trap, soul-tap, boldface bass, mellotron traced, late-night  rhythms, -isms and -gasms, prisms, schisms, and chasms, this’ems and that’ems of molecular  musical atoms splitting hairs and lost heirlooms. 

“This record reminds me of the tortoise from the old story with the hare,” add Russell. “It has  this sort of stout, relentless march to it. It’s hopeful and resolute but pushing through  resistance. I guess the world went from all hare to all tortoise so it’s less-than-surprising that  you can feel the reflection of that in the songs. There is a lot of blur and shade and random  splattered sinewy mop bucket melody. I like that it’s shaking hands with a lot of roots music  that one doesn’t instantly associate with my voice.” 

Shinyribs was named Best Austin Band at the Austin Chronicle’s Austin Music Awards (2017, 2018), awarded Album of the Year for I Got Your Medicine (2017), and Best 2020- Themed Song for “Stay Home” (2020). Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded six albums: 2010’s  Well After Awhile; Gulf Coast Museum (2013); Okra Candy (2015); 2017’s award-winning I Got  Your Medicine; a compilation of holiday standards and new compositions The Kringle Tingle  (2018); and the group’s latest soulful release, Fog & Bling (2019). Shinyribs latest project, Late  Night TV Gold, released in August 2021

Shinyribs defies genres as a sonic melting pot of Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, and roots-rock. The Austin-based nine-piece supergroup is led by Kevin Russell, the charismatic frontman with colorful suits and extravagant shoes who continuously swaps out an electric guitar for a ukulele and never falls short of creating a cinematic experience with on-stage antics that often include him donning a light-up cloak or leading a conga line through the crowd.

The Swampadelic R&B nine-piece outfit was named Best Austin Band at the Austin Chronicle’s Austin Music Awards (2017,2018) and awarded Album of the Year for “I Got Your Medicine” (2017). Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded seven albums: 2010’s“Well After Awhile;” “Gulf Coast Museum” (2013); “Okra Candy” (2015); 2017’s award-winning “I Got Your Medicine;” a compilation of holiday standards and new compositions “The Kringle Tingle” (2018); the soulful “Fog & Bling”(2019); and the most recent project, “Late Night TV Gold” released in August 2021.

Shinyribs defies genres as a sonic melting pot of Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing,and roots-rock. The Austin-based nine-piece supergroup is led by Kevin Russell, the charismatic frontman with colorful suits and extravagant shoes who continuously swaps out an electric guitar for a ukulele and never falls short of creating a cinematic experience with on-stage antics that often include him donninga light-up cloak or leading a conga line through the crowd.

The Swampadelic R&B nine-piece outfit was named Best Austin Band at the Austin Chronicle’s Austin Music Awards (2017, 2018) and awarded Album of the Year for “I Got Your Medicine” (2017). Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded seven albums: 2010’s“Well After Awhile;” “Gulf Coast Museum” (2013); “Okra Candy” (2015); 2017’s award-winning “I Got Your Medicine;” a compilation of holiday standards and new compositions “The Kringle Tingle” (2018); the soulful “Fog & Bling”(2019); and the most recent project, “Late Night TV Gold” released in August 2021

SHINYRIBS

Shinyribs defies genres as an Austin-based 9-piece Swamp-Pop-Soul supergroup fronted by the outrageously charismatic Kevin Russell. The nine-piece outfit was named Best Austin Band at the Austin Chronicle’s Austin Music Awards (2017, 2018) and awarded Album of the Year for “I Got Your Medicine” (2017). Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded six albums: 2010’s “Well After Awhile;” “Gulf Coast Museum” (2013); “Okra Candy” (2015); 2017’s award-winning “I Got Your Medicine;” a compilation of holiday standards and new compositions “The Kringle Tingle” (2018); and the group’s latest soulful release, “Fog & Bling (2019). Shinyribs will release their seventh project, “Late Night TV Gold” in August 2021.

Taylor Young Band

With his scruffy beard, pearl snap shirt and soulful blue eyes, Taylor Young certainly looks the part of a Texas born and bred singer-songwriter. However, his solo debut, Mercury Transit, reveals an artist unafraid to break from convention and unwilling to be typecast.

That figures, since he’s taken such a roundabout journey to get here. As a teenager, Young broke onto the Dallas music scene as the drummer for local psychedelic heroes Hi-Fi Drowning. His frenetic-yet-flawless playing style quickly earned gigs with the likes of Young Heart Attack and The Polyphonic Spree, but after years of touring he longed to step out from behind the kit. When he finally did, Young defied expectations and cofounded folk-country duo The O’s, honing his songwriting, guitar playing and frontman presence over four albums and hundreds of live shows.

With Taylor Young Band, these seemingly incongruent split personalities meet. Under the guiding hand of producer and bandmate Toby Pipes, the entire album was recorded on analog outboard equipment in Pipes’ College Station, Texas home studio. Over a year of laid-back regular sessions, the two discovered the perfect balance of Young’s uncanny gift for melody and a clever turn of phrase with Pipes’ shimmering atmospherics and pop sensibility.

The result is an album that’s more power pop than country, with breezy harmonies and big hooks seasoned with just a pinch of Southern twang. Opener “Get Around” gets the point across right away, sounding like Alex Chilton fronting Teenage Fanclub. The genre-bending continues on the lead single, “Rattled,” which wraps a Tom Petty style ballad in a cozy shoegaze blanket.

A persuasively optimistic hopeless romantic, Young sings earnestly about almost blowing it (“Make You Wanna Stay”), post-breakup second thoughts (“Out of My Mind”), and cosmic eternal destiny (“Shine On Me”). He’s also an old-school storyteller, ripping through honky tonk stomps “Daze of the Week” and “Drinkin” with a wink and selfdeprecating smile.

Ted Lasso with a telecaster, Young imbues the entire record with relentless positivity – even against all odds. Album standout “Wrong Place, Wrong Time” turns a string of bad luck into the jauntiest jangle pop this side of The Smiths. It’s this disarming sort of charm that turns strangers into friends, and helps friends feel sure everything will work out fine in the end.

The current incarnation of Taylor Young Band sees Young and Pipes joined by guitarist Michael Smith and drummer Austin Green – further evolving and expanding the signature Americana dream pop sound established on Mercury Transit. Expect the TYB good vibes to continue into 2022, with a much-anticipated European tour and second album on the way. Until then, take a bit of advice from Young and “don’t let it bring you down, ‘cause it will always come back to you.”

Click here for COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Once you’ve seen Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell on-stage and heard his band’s music, it’s impossible to forget. Known for his outrageous outfits and antics, he’s a regular fashion icon, liable to turn up in anything from his lime-green sherbet leisure suit to a flashing LED cloak, which he donned for a soulful performance of “East Texas Rust” on the award-winning PBS show Austin City Limits.

Born and raised in Beaumont, East Texas, Russell’s been variously dubbed (mostly by himself), the Baryshnikov of the Big Thicket, the Pavarotti of the Pineywoods, the Shakespeare of Swamp Pop, or the Shiniest Man in Showbidniz. One of the pioneers of Americana as a member of The Gourds, Russell took his musical inspiration from the fertile Ark-La-Tex turf. In the immortal words of the title track to their most recent album, “I Got Your Medicine,” Shinyribs have the cure to whatever ails you, moving that ass until you’re a helpless member of the Kevin Russell-led “all-in” conga line which snakes through the audience at the close of every show.

“It’s the universal dance anyone can do,” he says. “Nobody feels self-conscious or out of place. It’s a great way to get everybody involved. You can’t really top that.”

As Austin royalty, Shinyribs are one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, but not for long. The eightpiece outfit was recently named Best Austin Band for 2017, while I Got Your Medicine was tapped as Album of the Year at the Chronicle’s prestigious Austin Music Awards. Balding with a scraggly beard and an unapologetic gut, the 50-year-old Russell boasts the indelible spirit and nudge-nudge, wink-wink playful quality of a man forever young, who points to the likes of Tony Joe White and the Coasters for his Shinyribs-tickling, mind-expanding, butt-shaking “is he for real” sense of humor.

The crack eight-piece band features, aside from Russell, keyboardist Winfield Cheek, bassist Jeff Brown and drummer Keith Langford, along with the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns (trumpet player Tiger Anaya and Mark Wilson on sax and flute) and the Shiny Soul Sisters (Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee), as well as occasional on-stage appearances by the Riblets, Shinyribs’ very own dance troupe.

About his status as a local hero, Russell says, “The competition is pretty serious here in Austin. I don’t know how big a fish I am, but I certainly flop around a lot.”

Kevin Russell might not take himself too seriously, but he is dead-on serious about the eclectic blend of music he favors, combining Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, roots-rock, Tin Pan Alley and even punk into a raucous mix that includes such out-of-the-blue cover nods as David Bowie’s “Golden Years” (a posthumous tribute with an unlikely “On Broadway” groove) or the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” (interpolated into a live version of “Poor People’s Store,” his populist “jingle” for an imaginary bargain basement outlet).

Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded four albums since starting out as his “solo” side project, starting with 2010’s Well After Awhile, followed by Gulf Coast Museum (2013), Okra Candy (2015) and last year’s award-winning I Got Your Medicine. The band’s impending release came to fruition with demos Kevin started in his backyard studio, with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin providing some of the horn arrangements.

Russell’s parents were both music lovers, his father teaching him his first guitar chords, “then pretty much letting me go my own way.” As a teenager, he went through a hard-core punk phase, attracted to west coast acts like Minutemen, Hüsker Dü and Gun Club, followed by an alternative/college fascination with R.E.M., the dBs and the Replacements.

“I was raised in an era where there were no rules, where marketing and specialization hadn’t yet become the status quo,” he says of his vast musical canvas. “I think of radio as playing all styles of music; everything is up for grabs. I never wanted to play just one kind of music. Honestly, I don’t know how to do anything else. I love mashing things together you wouldn’t expect, like a donut taco.

“My thing is to love and respect everyone, to accept everyone for who they are. You can be whoever you want to be at a Shinyribs show… that’s what I’m trying to convey with my music and the performance.”

The past flows through Russell’s aesthetic sensibility to become something, well, Shiny and new.

“It’s cool to see the old stuff still works. I’ve taken a great deal from the best showmen I’ve seen over the years. I don’t want people to hero-worship me like a celebrity. This isn’t about me… it’s about us. Making everybody feel special.” His goal remains to create music that makes us feel better about ourselves… even the sad songs.

“I feel good when I play and sing this music. I want everybody to experience that same pleasure. I just want to keep serving the music I love, and continue to evolve my art.”

Click here for COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Once you’ve seen Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell on-stage and heard his band’s music, it’s impossible to forget. Known for his outrageous outfits and antics, he’s a regular fashion icon, liable to turn up in anything from his lime-green sherbet leisure suit to a flashing LED cloak, which he donned for a soulful performance of “East Texas Rust” on the award-winning PBS show Austin City Limits.

Born and raised in Beaumont, East Texas, Russell’s been variously dubbed (mostly by himself), the Baryshnikov of the Big Thicket, the Pavarotti of the Pineywoods, the Shakespeare of Swamp Pop, or the Shiniest Man in Showbidniz. One of the pioneers of Americana as a member of The Gourds, Russell took his musical inspiration from the fertile Ark-La-Tex turf. In the immortal words of the title track to their most recent album, “I Got Your Medicine,” Shinyribs have the cure to whatever ails you, moving that ass until you’re a helpless member of the Kevin Russell-led “all-in” conga line which snakes through the audience at the close of every show.

“It’s the universal dance anyone can do,” he says. “Nobody feels self-conscious or out of place. It’s a great way to get everybody involved. You can’t really top that.”

As Austin royalty, Shinyribs are one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, but not for long. The eightpiece outfit was recently named Best Austin Band for 2017, while I Got Your Medicine was tapped as Album of the Year at the Chronicle’s prestigious Austin Music Awards. Balding with a scraggly beard and an unapologetic gut, the 50-year-old Russell boasts the indelible spirit and nudge-nudge, wink-wink playful quality of a man forever young, who points to the likes of Tony Joe White and the Coasters for his Shinyribs-tickling, mind-expanding, butt-shaking “is he for real” sense of humor.

The crack eight-piece band features, aside from Russell, keyboardist Winfield Cheek, bassist Jeff Brown and drummer Keith Langford, along with the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns (trumpet player Tiger Anaya and Mark Wilson on sax and flute) and the Shiny Soul Sisters (Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee), as well as occasional on-stage appearances by the Riblets, Shinyribs’ very own dance troupe.

About his status as a local hero, Russell says, “The competition is pretty serious here in Austin. I don’t know how big a fish I am, but I certainly flop around a lot.”

Kevin Russell might not take himself too seriously, but he is dead-on serious about the eclectic blend of music he favors, combining Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, roots-rock, Tin Pan Alley and even punk into a raucous mix that includes such out-of-the-blue cover nods as David Bowie’s “Golden Years” (a posthumous tribute with an unlikely “On Broadway” groove) or the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” (interpolated into a live version of “Poor People’s Store,” his populist “jingle” for an imaginary bargain basement outlet).

Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded four albums since starting out as his “solo” side project, starting with 2010’s Well After Awhile, followed by Gulf Coast Museum (2013), Okra Candy (2015) and last year’s award-winning I Got Your Medicine. The band’s impending release came to fruition with demos Kevin started in his backyard studio, with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin providing some of the horn arrangements.

Russell’s parents were both music lovers, his father teaching him his first guitar chords, “then pretty much letting me go my own way.” As a teenager, he went through a hard-core punk phase, attracted to west coast acts like Minutemen, Hüsker Dü and Gun Club, followed by an alternative/college fascination with R.E.M., the dBs and the Replacements.

“I was raised in an era where there were no rules, where marketing and specialization hadn’t yet become the status quo,” he says of his vast musical canvas. “I think of radio as playing all styles of music; everything is up for grabs. I never wanted to play just one kind of music. Honestly, I don’t know how to do anything else. I love mashing things together you wouldn’t expect, like a donut taco.

“My thing is to love and respect everyone, to accept everyone for who they are. You can be whoever you want to be at a Shinyribs show… that’s what I’m trying to convey with my music and the performance.”

The past flows through Russell’s aesthetic sensibility to become something, well, Shiny and new.

“It’s cool to see the old stuff still works. I’ve taken a great deal from the best showmen I’ve seen over the years. I don’t want people to hero-worship me like a celebrity. This isn’t about me… it’s about us. Making everybody feel special.” His goal remains to create music that makes us feel better about ourselves… even the sad songs.

“I feel good when I play and sing this music. I want everybody to experience that same pleasure. I just want to keep serving the music I love, and continue to evolve my art.”

Click here for COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Once you’ve seen Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell on-stage and heard his band’s music, it’s impossible to forget. Known for his outrageous outfits and antics, he’s a regular fashion icon, liable to turn up in anything from his lime-green sherbet leisure suit to a flashing LED cloak, which he donned for a soulful performance of “East Texas Rust” on the award-winning PBS show Austin City Limits.

Born and raised in Beaumont, East Texas, Russell’s been variously dubbed (mostly by himself), the Baryshnikov of the Big Thicket, the Pavarotti of the Pineywoods, the Shakespeare of Swamp Pop, or the Shiniest Man in Showbidniz. One of the pioneers of Americana as a member of The Gourds, Russell took his musical inspiration from the fertile Ark-La-Tex turf. In the immortal words of the title track to their most recent album, “I Got Your Medicine,” Shinyribs have the cure to whatever ails you, moving that ass until you’re a helpless member of the Kevin Russell-led “all-in” conga line which snakes through the audience at the close of every show.

“It’s the universal dance anyone can do,” he says. “Nobody feels self-conscious or out of place. It’s a great way to get everybody involved. You can’t really top that.”

As Austin royalty, Shinyribs are one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, but not for long. The eightpiece outfit was recently named Best Austin Band for 2017, while I Got Your Medicine was tapped as Album of the Year at the Chronicle’s prestigious Austin Music Awards. Balding with a scraggly beard and an unapologetic gut, the 50-year-old Russell boasts the indelible spirit and nudge-nudge, wink-wink playful quality of a man forever young, who points to the likes of Tony Joe White and the Coasters for his Shinyribs-tickling, mind-expanding, butt-shaking “is he for real” sense of humor.

The crack eight-piece band features, aside from Russell, keyboardist Winfield Cheek, bassist Jeff Brown and drummer Keith Langford, along with the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns (trumpet player Tiger Anaya and Mark Wilson on sax and flute) and the Shiny Soul Sisters (Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee), as well as occasional on-stage appearances by the Riblets, Shinyribs’ very own dance troupe.

About his status as a local hero, Russell says, “The competition is pretty serious here in Austin. I don’t know how big a fish I am, but I certainly flop around a lot.”

Kevin Russell might not take himself too seriously, but he is dead-on serious about the eclectic blend of music he favors, combining Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, roots-rock, Tin Pan Alley and even punk into a raucous mix that includes such out-of-the-blue cover nods as David Bowie’s “Golden Years” (a posthumous tribute with an unlikely “On Broadway” groove) or the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” (interpolated into a live version of “Poor People’s Store,” his populist “jingle” for an imaginary bargain basement outlet).

Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded four albums since starting out as his “solo” side project, starting with 2010’s Well After Awhile, followed by Gulf Coast Museum (2013), Okra Candy (2015) and last year’s award-winning I Got Your Medicine. The band’s impending release came to fruition with demos Kevin started in his backyard studio, with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin providing some of the horn arrangements.

Russell’s parents were both music lovers, his father teaching him his first guitar chords, “then pretty much letting me go my own way.” As a teenager, he went through a hard-core punk phase, attracted to west coast acts like Minutemen, Hüsker Dü and Gun Club, followed by an alternative/college fascination with R.E.M., the dBs and the Replacements.

“I was raised in an era where there were no rules, where marketing and specialization hadn’t yet become the status quo,” he says of his vast musical canvas. “I think of radio as playing all styles of music; everything is up for grabs. I never wanted to play just one kind of music. Honestly, I don’t know how to do anything else. I love mashing things together you wouldn’t expect, like a donut taco.

“My thing is to love and respect everyone, to accept everyone for who they are. You can be whoever you want to be at a Shinyribs show… that’s what I’m trying to convey with my music and the performance.”

The past flows through Russell’s aesthetic sensibility to become something, well, Shiny and new.

“It’s cool to see the old stuff still works. I’ve taken a great deal from the best showmen I’ve seen over the years. I don’t want people to hero-worship me like a celebrity. This isn’t about me… it’s about us. Making everybody feel special.” His goal remains to create music that makes us feel better about ourselves… even the sad songs.

“I feel good when I play and sing this music. I want everybody to experience that same pleasure. I just want to keep serving the music I love, and continue to evolve my art.”

Click here for COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Once you’ve seen Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell on-stage and heard his band’s music, it’s impossible to forget. Known for his outrageous outfits and antics, he’s a regular fashion icon, liable to turn up in anything from his lime-green sherbet leisure suit to a flashing LED cloak, which he donned for a soulful performance of “East Texas Rust” on the award-winning PBS show Austin City Limits.

Born and raised in Beaumont, East Texas, Russell’s been variously dubbed (mostly by himself), the Baryshnikov of the Big Thicket, the Pavarotti of the Pineywoods, the Shakespeare of Swamp Pop, or the Shiniest Man in Showbidniz. One of the pioneers of Americana as a member of The Gourds, Russell took his musical inspiration from the fertile Ark-La-Tex turf. In the immortal words of the title track to their most recent album, “I Got Your Medicine,” Shinyribs have the cure to whatever ails you, moving that ass until you’re a helpless member of the Kevin Russell-led “all-in” conga line which snakes through the audience at the close of every show.

“It’s the universal dance anyone can do,” he says. “Nobody feels self-conscious or out of place. It’s a great way to get everybody involved. You can’t really top that.”

As Austin royalty, Shinyribs are one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, but not for long. The eightpiece outfit was recently named Best Austin Band for 2017, while I Got Your Medicine was tapped as Album of the Year at the Chronicle’s prestigious Austin Music Awards. Balding with a scraggly beard and an unapologetic gut, the 50-year-old Russell boasts the indelible spirit and nudge-nudge, wink-wink playful quality of a man forever young, who points to the likes of Tony Joe White and the Coasters for his Shinyribs-tickling, mind-expanding, butt-shaking “is he for real” sense of humor.

The crack eight-piece band features, aside from Russell, keyboardist Winfield Cheek, bassist Jeff Brown and drummer Keith Langford, along with the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns (trumpet player Tiger Anaya and Mark Wilson on sax and flute) and the Shiny Soul Sisters (Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee), as well as occasional on-stage appearances by the Riblets, Shinyribs’ very own dance troupe.

About his status as a local hero, Russell says, “The competition is pretty serious here in Austin. I don’t know how big a fish I am, but I certainly flop around a lot.”

Kevin Russell might not take himself too seriously, but he is dead-on serious about the eclectic blend of music he favors, combining Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, roots-rock, Tin Pan Alley and even punk into a raucous mix that includes such out-of-the-blue cover nods as David Bowie’s “Golden Years” (a posthumous tribute with an unlikely “On Broadway” groove) or the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” (interpolated into a live version of “Poor People’s Store,” his populist “jingle” for an imaginary bargain basement outlet).

Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded four albums since starting out as his “solo” side project, starting with 2010’s Well After Awhile, followed by Gulf Coast Museum (2013), Okra Candy (2015) and last year’s award-winning I Got Your Medicine. The band’s impending release came to fruition with demos Kevin started in his backyard studio, with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin providing some of the horn arrangements.

Russell’s parents were both music lovers, his father teaching him his first guitar chords, “then pretty much letting me go my own way.” As a teenager, he went through a hard-core punk phase, attracted to west coast acts like Minutemen, Hüsker Dü and Gun Club, followed by an alternative/college fascination with R.E.M., the dBs and the Replacements.

“I was raised in an era where there were no rules, where marketing and specialization hadn’t yet become the status quo,” he says of his vast musical canvas. “I think of radio as playing all styles of music; everything is up for grabs. I never wanted to play just one kind of music. Honestly, I don’t know how to do anything else. I love mashing things together you wouldn’t expect, like a donut taco.

“My thing is to love and respect everyone, to accept everyone for who they are. You can be whoever you want to be at a Shinyribs show… that’s what I’m trying to convey with my music and the performance.”

The past flows through Russell’s aesthetic sensibility to become something, well, Shiny and new.

“It’s cool to see the old stuff still works. I’ve taken a great deal from the best showmen I’ve seen over the years. I don’t want people to hero-worship me like a celebrity. This isn’t about me… it’s about us. Making everybody feel special.” His goal remains to create music that makes us feel better about ourselves… even the sad songs.

“I feel good when I play and sing this music. I want everybody to experience that same pleasure. I just want to keep serving the music I love, and continue to evolve my art.”

Once you’ve seen Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell on-stage and heard his band’s music, it’s impossible to forget. Known for his outrageous outfits and antics, he’s a regular fashion icon, liable to turn up in anything from his lime-green sherbet leisure suit to a flashing LED cloak, which he donned for a soulful performance of “East Texas Rust” on the award-winning PBS show Austin City Limits.

Born and raised in Beaumont, East Texas, Russell’s been variously dubbed (mostly by himself), the Baryshnikov of the Big Thicket, the Pavarotti of the Pineywoods, the Shakespeare of Swamp Pop, or the Shiniest Man in Showbidniz. One of the pioneers of Americana as a member of The Gourds, Russell took his musical inspiration from the fertile Ark-La-Tex turf. In the immortal words of the title track to their most recent album, “I Got Your Medicine,” Shinyribs have the cure to whatever ails you, moving that ass until you’re a helpless member of the Kevin Russell-led “all-in” conga line which snakes through the audience at the close of every show.

“It’s the universal dance anyone can do,” he says. “Nobody feels self-conscious or out of place. It’s a great way to get everybody involved. You can’t really top that.”

As Austin royalty, Shinyribs are one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, but not for long. The eight-piece outfit was recently named Best Austin Band for 2017, while I Got Your Medicine was tapped as Album of the Year at the Chronicle’s prestigious Austin Music Awards. Balding with a scraggly beard and an unapologetic gut, the 50-year-old Russell boasts the indelible spirit and nudge-nudge, wink-wink playful quality of a man forever young, who points to the likes of Tony Joe White and the Coasters for his Shinyribs-tickling, mind-expanding, butt-shaking “is he for real” sense of humor. The crack eight-piece band features, aside from Russell, keyboardist Winfield Cheek, bassist Jeff Brown and drummer Keith Langford, along with the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns (trumpet player Tiger Anaya and Mark Wilson on sax and flute) and the Shiny Soul Sisters (Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee), as well as occasional on-stage appearances by the Riblets, Shinyribs’ very own dance troupe.

About his status as a local hero, Russell says, “The competition is pretty serious here in Austin. I don’t know how big a fish I am, but I certainly flop around a lot.”

Kevin Russell might not take himself too seriously, but he is dead-on serious about the eclectic blend of music he favors, combining Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, roots-rock, Tin Pan Alley and even punk into a raucous mix that includes such out-of-the-blue cover nods as David Bowie’s “Golden Years” (a posthumous tribute with an unlikely “On Broadway” groove) or the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” (interpolated into a live version of “Poor People’s Store,” his populist “jingle” for an imaginary bargain basement outlet).

Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded four albums since starting out as his “solo” side project, starting with 2010’s Well After Awhile, followed by Gulf Coast Museum (2013), Okra Candy (2015) and last year’s award-winning I Got Your Medicine. The band’s impending release came to fruition with demos Kevin started in his backyard studio, with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin providing some of the horn arrangements.

Russell’s parents were both music lovers, his father teaching him his first guitar chords, “then pretty much letting me go my own way.” As a teenager, he went through a hard-core punk phase, attracted to west coast acts like Minutemen, Hüsker Dü and Gun Club, followed by an alternative/college fascination with R.E.M., the dBs and the Replacements.

“I was raised in an era where there were no rules, where marketing and specialization hadn’t yet become the status quo,” he says of his vast musical canvas. “I think of radio as playing all styles of music; everything is up for grabs. I never wanted to play just one kind of music. Honestly, I don’t know how to do anything else. I love mashing things together you wouldn’t expect, like a donut taco.

“My thing is to love and respect everyone, to accept everyone for who they are. You can be whoever you want to be at a Shinyribs show… that’s what I’m trying to convey with my music and the performance.”

The past flows through Russell’s aesthetic sensibility to become something, well, Shiny and new.

“It’s cool to see the old stuff still works. I’ve taken a great deal from the best showmen I’ve seen over the years. I don’t want people to hero-worship me like a celebrity. This isn’t about me… it’s about us. Making everybody feel special.” His goal remains to create music that makes us feel better about ourselves… even the sad songs.

“I feel good when I play and sing this music. I want everybody to experience that same pleasure. I just want to keep serving the music I love, and continue to evolve my art.”

Not too many years ago, Austin singer-songwriter Kevin Russell, the man behind the entity known as Shinyribs, had a revelation. He was discussing schoolteachers with his kids, and mentioned his first two were Miss Martin and Miss Gibson. That’s when he realized his destiny had been shaped decades ago, like the headstocks of his favorite guitars.

In fact, Miss Gibson’s impact reached even further. The Beaumont, Texas, native remembers the moment his 7-year-old ears heard her pronouncement, “You are a writer.” He knew even then that he wanted to apply that skill to songs; she gave him the confidence to pursue that dream. Seven years later, he started strumming and composing, and now, on Feb. 24, 2017, Shinyribs the man and Shinyribs the eight-person band are about to dose fans with the exuberant swamp-pop soul-funk of their fourth release, I Got Your Medicine. Tracked at Houston’s legendary SugarHill Recording Studios, it carries a New Orleans R&B vibe — with extra gris-gris added by Russell’s co-producer, Jimbo Mathus.
Russell’s band years started during high school, in Shreveport, La. A move to Dallas, another to Austin, and formation of his last band, the Gourds, followed. In 2007, to cover payments on his new family vehicle, Russell started doing a monthly side gig at a Houston club, using the name bestowed upon him by a transient woman he’d once presented with a plate of ribs. In 2010, he released his Shinyribs debut, Well After Awhile. Gulf Coast Museum came in 2013.
By then, the 19-year-old Gourds had recorded with Larry Campbell at Levon Helm’s Woodstock studio, toured internationally and played countless shows. It was time to move on. With 2015’s Okra Candy, Shinyribs became a band, with drummer/percussionist Keith Langford, keyboardist Winfield Cheek and bassist Jeff Brown. With I Got Your Medicine it’s a party — attended by the Tijuana Train Wreck Horns and the Shiny Soul Sisters.
It might be a rent party at a trailer park, but hey, fun is fun, and that’s what Shinyribs are all about. Russell loves nothing more than challenging people’s sensibilities while making them laugh, which he can do merely by stepping onstage. He’s got a balding dome, longish white goatee, Santa-sized belly and no ass at all, and he’s usually wearing a wild suit picked up at a place called Soul Train Fashions (in New Orleans, natch). He’s a jovial presence, all right (a regular “hippie redneck Buddha,” said the Dallas Observer). When he straps on a guitar, mandolin or six-string ukulele and strums “Poor People’s Store,” “Take Me Lake Charles” or “Bolshevik Sugarcane,” or wiggles his non-ass while doing his best “Let’s Get It On” Marvin Gaye, he can turn even the most uptight audience into booty-shakers.
“I just do what comes natural and what turns me on,” says Russell. “Humor is really important to me in music. I love Coasters and Tony Joe White songs; you don’t know if it’s a joke or if they’re serious.”
And Russell is a master at balancing tongue-in-cheek with heart ’n’ soul. The title tune is a case in point: it’s drawn from his experience helping a down-and-out husband run errands for his anxiety-ridden wife.
The lyric There’s a mall dying inside you and you never bought that dream references Russell’s love of empty old malls, which he finds “kind of depressing and kind of beautiful at the same time.” Buoyance comes from Tiger Anaya’s and Mark Wilson’s doo-wop/soul-flavored horns and backing vocals by Sally Allen and Alice Spencer.
They put a gospel groove on “Don’t Leave It a Lie,” and throw several retro influences into Ted Hawkins’ “I Gave Up All I Had.” Russell, who produced the 2015 compilation Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins, puts a particular hurt on that one.
“I’ve learned a lot about singing and how to write songs just from listening to his music,” he says. But inspiration comes from every direction. The honky-tonk-meets-Chuck Berry rocker “Trouble, Trouble,” for example, recalls a phrase he used to hear on a Dallas soul station.
“Tub Gut Stomp and Red-eyed Soul” gets its title from Russell’s definition of his musical style; an energetic Naw’lins romper, it’s filled with “freak-out juice” and “Jimbo stew.”
Speaking of Jimbo, Russell says their alliance was another confluence of strange events. It started years ago, when he heard Mathus’ Confederate Buddha album.
“I knew I had to meet this guy, so I got his number, called him up and said, ‘This is Kevin Russell. You may or may not know who I am, but I think you have my record collection and I want it back.’”
They’ve been friends ever since. One night, Mathus was supposed to open for Shinyribs in Beaumont after an appearance in Houston. The Mississippi resident hadn’t counted on Houston’s Friday afternoon gridlock, however. He missed the gig but showed up anyway.
“That was the first time he heard us with the horns,” Russell says. “He grabbed me after that show and said, ‘We gotta make a record! This is too good!”
Maybe his ears were captivated by the syncopated sexiness of “A Certain Girl,” their Allen Toussaint cover, or their gorgeous rendering of the Toussaint McCall/Patrick Robinson ballad, “Nothing Takes the Place of You.” Or maybe it was the bluesy “I Knew It All Along,” Russell’s very-successful attempt to write “just a real good done-me-wrong soul song,” or “Hands on Your Hips,” his take on “a good old jealousy song.”
“I Don’t Give A Shit,” a duet with Spencer, began as a country frolic about a couple who can’t stand each other, but love each other anyway. They rocked it up for the album — once they stopped laughing long enough to sing. Gospel rave-up “The Cross Is Boss” puts a clever, slightly satirical finish on the affair; Russell says the song — like the album — is meant as a reminder that not every issue has to be taken so seriously.
“A lot of people are so tightly wound, they can’t let themselves go,” he says. “I feel like I can demonstrate to them that you can shake your hips, roll around on the floor, scream and shout, and it’s OK: people will still accept you. It’s just music; relax and have some fun.”