The day after my college graduation I was taking a nap, because I deserved it dang it, haha. I woke up and seen Russell’s “Just Announced: Knoxville, TN” tweet, and realized it was while we were on vacation in Gatlinburg. I started frantically pulling up the Maps app immediately to see how far it was from where we were staying. When it said an hour it was a no brainer, (and a “MOMMMM! WE HAVE TO GO, RUSS IS GUNNA BE AN HOUR AWAY! PLEASEEEEEEE?!”). VIP for the show was $30, and all the money went to the Boys and Girls Club on top of it all, so we got out tickets and were ready, and I was counting down the days all week…
We got to the venue, which was a little stage set up in the middle of an outdoor shopping mall. We walked around for a little bit, because we were there really early, then decided we’d just go start the line. Russell came out and sound checked since he had just got off a flight, so we got to see soundcheck, which was cool. We weren’t going to bug him before the show because our VIP had a meet and greet after the show, but after he left the stage I look over and he was frantically waving to come say hi.
We talked about graduation, the Hometeam Tour, how Momma was the best for agreeing to drive to Knoxville because neither of us knew where the heck we were, and of course the first time I heard “Yours” on our local radio station. (If you didn’t read about me almost crashing my car when that happened you can check it out here). I love Russ’ music, and his live show is phenomenal, but the thing I love most: I’ve met him three times now, and he has consistently been the most genuine, kind, not only artist, but human I’ve ever met. I also got to see his sweet wife, Kailey, and she’s such a freaking rockstar. Also, the kindest human.
We noticed in pictures from previous shows everyone sat down at these shows, but thats just not how you have an RDparD, haha. We didn’t have any clue what we were doing, so we just stood in front of the stage, because thats where we (and a bunch of others) wanted to be anyway. (Also, shout out to the two nice guys who we talked to in line and held our spot up front because we were talking to RD. Everyone is so much nicer in Tennessee. That’s a FACT.) We also got to be upfront with my Twitter friends Shannon and Maddie who were from NOWHERE near Knoxville, and drove a long ways. Its funny what music and the internet does, when you know two girls from totally different states, because we’re all Russell fans…
Russ sang all the songs off the Yours EP (Every Little Thing, MGNO, Blue Tacoma and Yours). He asked what everyone wanted to hear because he was just kinda jammin’ and didn’t have a plan. I don’t think he was expecting 0 to 60 to be a response (my response). He said it was the first song he ever wrote (you learn something new every day), and he didn’t even know if he remembered the words (fun fact, he did, because he said he’d sing the chorus for me, then sang the whole song, and I was the happiest human). He also sang That’s My Girl, Billions (new song, YouTube it and thank me for the suggestion later), and Whiskey on my Breath (recorded by Love and Theft, he was a writer on it!). The show was incredible, but its Russell, so it always is.
Post show, we had a meet and greet from purchasing VIP, so we got to say hey again, and he thanked us again for driving, congratulated me on graduating again, and we talked about the fact that I want to go into radio for a second. We took a few more pictures, talked about seeing he and Kailey (the best meet and greet photographer everrrr) in June at Hoedown in Clarkston, MI, then said goodbye and headed to standstill traffic on the expressway and a woman who drove for ten miles in the pitch black without headlights on behind us.
Every time we see Russ it just gets better. I cannot wait to see him in June and am always so blown away by how kind he and Kailey are.
But also, his Die to Live Again album is incredible and if you don’t have it… fix that: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/die-to-live-again/id415673784
Follow Russell: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @russelled
Tour Dates, Merch and everything thats good on his website:
Throwback to the RD Artist Spotlight HERE