I was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1958. I showed an interest in music from a very early age, from selecting songs and running the record player at age 2 (well, that’s what my folks told me), to neighborhood “concerts” from the dining room “stage” mimicking the beatles and rolling stones at age 5. I started taking piano lessons in the 3rd grade and hated it except that I got out of class once a week for about 30 minutes. in the 7th grade I got a guitar for christmas and took lessons for a while but I wasn’t really turned on by ‘hang down your head tom dooley’ and ‘red river valley’.
In the 10th grade I met Boo Edmondson. A guitar player who was much better than I was. He found out that I knew how to play piano and asked me to join the band he had put together for the school talent show. It was on! The talent show went great and we proceeded to put a band together that included Paul Barsom on bass and Wes Sullivan on drums. Shakey Kid had good success playing the skating rink and even the govenor’s mansion for George Wallace’s kids.
Boo and I graduated high school and moved to Mobile, Alabama to attend college. There we starting jamming with some guys on the eastern shore. Mac Cone on vocals, Jim Cates on bass and Joe Coleman on guitar. JK Terrell soon joined us on drums and Michelle Coley on vocals. Michelle and I married a couple of years later and played together for many years and had a great life together.
Boo and Mac went back to Montgomery for the summer of 1977 and the band added little Stevie Reager, vocals and Phil Ward on guitar and starting playing the gulf coast as Southern Sun. we went on the road in the winter of 1978 and all but starved to death, what a great time! the band broke up on the road and I returned to Mobile. Shortly thereafter, Boo and I got together with Terry Massey on bass and Jeff Marcus on drums along with Michelle to form White Light. White Light played in and around Mobile with extended club dates throughout the southeast during school breaks for several years. Paul Barsom joined us on bass in 1979 and Lamar Lowder was added as a drummer in 1980.
The band broke up in 1981. Soon thereafter I began playing a honky tonk in Eight Mile Alabama, the Creek Club, it was a little rough at times, but the owners, Carter and Geneva Myers, were great to work for. We played thursday through sunday, 9 to 4 on friday and saturday. A year or so later I began playing with a show band in Mobile called Destiny. After a year I joined a band, Shot in the Dark, with Michelle Still, Terry Massey (White Light) on bass, Tony Nettles on drums and Gil Joiner on guitar. Teresa Raby sang with us off and on. Gary Baria did sound and lights. Shot in the Dark was together for 3 years and stayed very busy doing clubs and parties in Mobile and around the gulf coast.
During this period Michelle and I had married and I needed a job. I had a finance degree but had no idea what I wanted to do. I ran across a job for a finance manager at a hospital I had no idea hospitals had business people. But I got the job and spent the next 40 years in healthcare – hospital accounting manager, urgent care area manager and business consultant for physicians. It was a great career, but I always found time to play music. Enough of that, let’s get back to the fun stuff.
In 1986, I had an offer to move to Atlanta (it was more like, if you want to keep your job you need to move. I thought the change in scene was a good idea, not to mention the ability to keep my job. After a few months I met some guys and formed an original band, Interface. Keith Stencil on drums, Darrell Bush on bass and Jeff Murrah on guitar. During the Interface time Matt Gore played percussion and Michelle sang. We recorded a number of tunes including Light Shine that was on the Georgia State University compilation album “Off The Track” with Brenndon Obrien (Springstein, STP, Sound Garden, many others) engineering. Several of the Interface tunes were on my first record, “Family and Friends”.
Interface stayed together for a few years then I started playing with a cover band, The Blend with Michelle, Ladd Fletcher, Mike Hines, Mike Kavalage and Vance Whitt. The Blend went full time and we left the band. Soon thereafter I met a neighbor who had won the Atlanta Songwriters Country song of the year. Eddie Terrill is a singer, song writer in the country vein. Eddie put The Heart of Country together with Michelle Still, Charles Hilton on bass, Greg Smith on drums and a number of guitar players including Joe Davies and David Jackson. ET and the HOC played radio remotes, clubs and parties for 5 or six years until Eddie Semi retired with the birth of his daughter. The HOC core with Charles, Greg, Michelle and I changed names to Power Company with Ivan Duke on guitar, then Groove Street with Hugh Pitts on guitar and stayed very active in the Atlanta Club and one nighter market for about 5 years.
In 2004 Charles, Michelle and I started working with Mick Crysler on drums and Angela McClinton-Altman on vocals as Moon Dance doing exlcusive one nighters and wedding receptions in Georgia and North and South Carolina. I left moon dance in mid 2005 to concentrate on song writing (it also had to do with my divorce – it happens in the best of families!).
I have put together a number of projects featuring my original material. Family and Friends is a compilation of originals performed over the years with Shot in the Dark, Interface and members of The Heart of Country. Creations is totally instrumental, new age genre that I wrote and recorded all keyboards, bass and guitars and drum programming.
I’ve done some solo projects. The Mission: Music was recorded in 2005 with the musicians from Moon Dance. The Russ Still Project from 2008 includes songs played and sung by some of the best talent in Nashville. I wrote or co-wrote all the songs. The co-writers include Bob Killen, Hank Brewer and Cam Still. There’s also White Lightnin from 2014. which is the first “Russ Still and The Moonshiners” record. All of those are on the website and also on Spotify.
Since White Lightnin’, The Moonshiners and I have released 3 records including “Still Cookin’ 2016, Bootleg (Batch 432) 2018 and Southern Born and Raised early 2021. You can also find these on the website and also on Spotify.
I retired at the end of 2019 and spend most days and nights writing, recording and playing music. I’m a very young 62 (2021), I’m healthy and completely passionate about my music. I told my ex business partner I’ve never worked as hard for as little, but never had as much fun. It’s really a blast! Everyday is a new adventure.
Finally, I’m so happy you’ve found us. I hope you’ll join us on this journey. In the end, it’s all about folks like you who love and support music.
Thanks for listening!