Sam Russell & The Harborrats

Sam Russell & The Harborrats

Genres: Folk , Folk Rock , Rockabilly , Soul


For 10 years now in the Pacific Northwest, Sam Russell has been serving up an eclectic musical buffet of spooky 50's doo-wop, hushed country-tinged folk, gritty Southern-soul, high-pompadour-rockabilly & synth-infused garage-rock as the sonic templates for his literate songwriting centering on the concerns of blue-collar frustration, organized religion and of course, love.

Sam was born the son of a preacher man in Kenosha, WI, smack in the middle of Milwaukee and Chicago. His dad was a minister for a small church and also drove full-time city bus to support Sam and siblings while his mom worked as a clerk at the local library. As a kid, (and due to his parents being the religious sort) Sam was mainly just allowed to listen to oldies radio, taking in The Beatles, Motown, girl-group pop and Otis Redding from an early age. The diversity of popular music from the 1950's & 60's as played onoldies radio shaped Sam's interest and early songwriting to utilize a variety of musical styles as different ways to tell different stories.

Upon moving to Seattle, Sam began to play and record with a rotating pool of collaborators drawn from tthe local community and christened The Harborrats. Sam also embarked on a large-scale recording project known as The Blue Moon Bible. designed to be 8 albums of 8 songs apiece using a variety of rock n’ roll styles to depict a loose cast of characters coming to terms with the passing of adolescent ambitions in the face of day-to-day ordinary living.

Between 2006 and 2012, Sam recorded six albums for the project, starting with The Katie Sermon, recording primarily with the legendary Conrad Uno {Presidents of the United States, Mudhoney, The Young Fresh Fellows} and Johnny Sangster (Hounds of the Wild Hunt, Star Anna, Cobirds Unite). Sam’s first album The Katie Sermon was released in 2006 and was a regional Northwestern hit, gaining airplay for five of the album's 8 tracks on nationally-renowned indie-tastemaker KEXP. 

Following albums built on this early buzz as Sam continued to write, record and release 5 more albums in 5 years as part of the Blue Moon Bible project while continuing to perform around the Pacific Northwest and back home in the Midwest. His last album, 2012’s Blue Eyeshadow Revisited took Sam on national tours and the festival circuit. Locally, he has shared the stage with a laundry list of great Northwest bands, including The Maldives, The Moondoggies, Adia Victoria and La Luz. 

Sam has spent the last 2 years writing and developing the songs for the last double-album of his project. Titled The Wisconsin Polka,  the album will address the inability to completely escape the working-class roots and blue-collar attitudes of one's origin or fellow countrymen. The first single from these sessions, “Born to Hurt” paired with a stark recasting of Eric Carmen's "Make Me Lose Control"  was released in reaction to the November election. Sam then produced the compilation “The Sin in Wisconsin Vol.!,” released on Jan 20 (Inauguration Day) as a benefit EP for Planned Parenthood, compiling tracks from himself and fellow Wisconsinites living in Seattle. The EP features the brand-new track “Rosebud in the Fire (The Death of Adrienne Rich).”

Triple Door

216 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101
Tickets 206.838.4333