Oconee Performing Arts Society Welcomes Grammy Winner Catherine Russell
Updated: Oct 17, 2022
Oconee Performing Arts Society (OPAS), the premier arts organization in the Lake Oconee area, is honored to announce that Grammy Award winner Catherine Russell will be their guest artist appearing on April 29, 2022.
Russell is the OPAS Lounge Series debut artist, a new series that will feature world-class artists in intimate settings throughout Lake Country. The New York Times has described Russell's performances as "a strength, good humor and intelligence that engulf the room in a mood of bonhomie," and NPR calls her sound "….a voice that wails like a horn and whispers like a snake in the Garden of Eden."
Russell spent years touring and recording with songwriters and iconic artists including David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Wynton Marsalis, Dr. John, Rosanne Cash, Toshi Reagon, and Carrie Smith, among others. She toured with Steely Dan and later worked with David Bowie on vocals, keyboard, percussion, guitar and mandolin for his Heathen Tour and his album, Reality. Recalling these experiences, Russell remarked, "Working with David Bowie was a dream come true. I'd been a fan since 1971. He was such a gracious man and musically generous. I am blessed to have known him."
Music is in Russell's blood. Her father was Luis Russell, a legendary pianist, composer, and
bandleader, and Louis Armstrong's long-time musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, held degrees from Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music. She was a pioneering vocalist and guitarist/bassist who performed with International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Mary Lou Williams, and Sy Oliver. Both parents encouraged her passion for music. She loved her father's compositions and his recordings of the 1920s and '30s, as well as R&B records from the 1950s.
As a young girl, she was also enamored with Country music-including George Jones, Patsy
Cline, Hank Williams, and Merle Haggard-as she liked "anything that swings."
Her time collaborating with rock, blues, jazz, soul, and gospel bands created a foundation for the extraordinary solo career she launched in 2006.
Russell boasts seven award-winning, chart-topping albums, including her 2006 debut album Cat, Sentimental Streak, Inside This Heart of Mine, Strictly Romancin', Bring It Back, Harlem on My Mind and Alone Together. Her 8th album, Send for Me, releases later this year. Fans of great 20th century singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Holiday appreciate Russell's impeccable vocals and smooth style.
Along with several Grammy nominations for her solo work, in 2012, Russell received a Grammy® Award as a featured solo artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO-TV series, "Boardwalk Empire." She continues to collaborate with other artists on various projects, touring and releasing her own albums.
"We couldn't be more thrilled to have Catherine performing at our launch of the OPAS Lounge Series," said Doug LaBrecque, OPAS Artistic Director. "We know our audience will enjoy her music, her easy style, and her unforgettable voice and presence. She is the real deal." The OPAS Nightclub Series kicks off with Russell's performance on April 29, 2022 at 7:30 PM at Festival Hall, located in the heart of historic downtown Greensboro.