PAMELA RUBY RUSSELL: Singer / Songwriter / Photographer
CD "HIGHWAY OF DREAMS"
SNAIL MAIL: PO BOX 300887, BOSTON, MA 02130
GENRE: Americana Pop / Roots / AAA / World / Country Pop flavored!!! Yes, it is true!
Enchanting, versatile songstress and fine art photographer PAMELA RUBY RUSSELL draws from her own adventures - singing atop a Mayan temple, riding an elephant in a Mexican circus and living on a tropical island, to bring her tunes alive for you.
FEATURING: Co-producer Peter Calo (Guitarist - Carly Simon & Linda Eder, Broadway's 'Hairspray', in 2009, 'Spider Man') and backing vocalist extraordinaire Robert Holmes (Guitarist/Backing vocals/Co-writer with Aimee Mann & ‘til Tuesday). Miguel Jimenez, one of Bolivia's top flautists, plays pan pipes and kena, while drummer Jerry Krenach and bassist Ken Rich (both musicians work with Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed) lay a seriously solid and at the same time, sensitive groove. Accordionist Evan Harlan lends the Ameri-Continental touch. Mastering and pre-mastering by Mark Donahue and Bob St. John, with engineering by Bob Patton and Rick Nichols make this recording stellar!
PAMELA RUBY RUSSELL's independently produced CD, HIGHWAY OF DREAMS irresistibly takes you on a trip with her. Nine different countries are represented in all by the musicians that play on HIGHWAY OF DREAMS and though each beautifully crafted song is uniquely different, they all work together, as chapters in a well-written book.
Hobos and boxcars, Mayan temples, full moons and tropical nights, muggers and policemen, soldiers and sisters of mercy, all looking for a home, a place to belong, accepting the finite, learning to live this life to the fullest... Ms. Russell’s life is her art. She writes about finding the strength to make wise choices and accepting the unexpected twists and turns, all the while seeking bliss, the joy.
A BILLBOARD Song Contest award winner several times over, Pamela has had songs aired on many radio stations in the New England area as well as on international online radio shows. Her songs easily lend themselves to use in film and TV and could easily be recorded by fellow recording artists, with sensitivity and depth.
Besides being a writer, singer, lyricist and photographer for most of her life, Pamela has kept herself busy as a restaurant owner; Tarot card reader; bartender in the West Indies; elephant rider in a Mexican circus; house painter; and last but certainly not least, a vocal coach, teaching others what she has learned and loves. Also very involved as a community and political activist, Pamela is Vice Chairman of her town’s Democratic Committee, as well has having been elected 4 times as a delegate to Massachusetts’ Democratic Conventions. During the onset and ensuing years’ horrific Gulf tragedy, Pamela has been part of a large volunteer effort and helped set up an online emergency relief database which is still in use now.
An adventuress, an enthusiastic lover of life, Pamela has always sought to expand her horizons. She explains, "working sixteen hour days in a funky Cape Cod restaurant I co-owned in Provincetown, MA wiped me out. I moved to Saint-Barth in the French Antilles to heal my heart and clear my head, to feel a tropical breeze on my skin and get to know myself."
Designing jewelry, meeting exciting adventurers like herself and having fun in the sun, one day an exotic Frenchman challenged her as they walked hand in hand through a bamboo forest. " Ma chère, what do you really want to do with your life?" Though bittersweet were many of her childhood memories, a little girl playing dress-up, creating fantasies to escape from trauma, she overcame great odds. Going to the opera with her grandmother, the ballet, the beautiful old piano her now deceased mother had given her and spending time with her friends’ rock bands in NYC coffeehouses, all these blessings gave Pamela fertile soil to grow up into a splendidly hued artist. She quit the Islands, returned home and headed to Boston, learning how to put music to the technicolor movies inside her head.
Pamela's first gigging rock band of many, BEAUTY and THE BEAST, achieved recognition in Boston. Joe Viglione, the respected music writer and TV interview show host, played Pamela’s songs on college radio stations. Her second professional recording, originally produced with her band, TOUCH MEMORY along with the brilliant guitarist, friend and co-writer, Richard Viard, was picked up by Beantown's own treasure Carter Alan, who's now on WZLX. She was named Featured Local Artist on WBCN. Pamela played almost every Boston venue along with shows in LA, NY, etc... Doors began opening, including having her songs shopped by Gordon Meltzer (former manager-Miles Davis and tour manager-Foreigner and Cyndi Lauper) and other industry interest.
Pamela’s life was forever changed and the seeds were planted for her HIGHWAY OF DREAMS CD when Pamela's beloved godmother, a former Ziegfeld Follies girl living in Mexico, asked her to come and visit. A week’s stay turned into almost a year, with stints as a cantina Tarot card reader and Mexican circus elephant rider. Ms. Ruby befriended Andean and mariachi musicians, retired bullfighters, ex-patriated mystery writers, learned some Spanish, wrote many songs and eventually picked up a bad case of typhoid fever. It was back to Boston for her. But with her went a bit of the warmth, generosity and beauty of Mexico that remain in her heart and in her songs to this day.
Months later she headed back to Mexico in search of the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon outside the puebla of Teotihuacan. The plan was to go to those very sacred temple ruins alone at midnight on August 15th 1987, the eve of the ‘Harmonic Convergence’ in order to face her nagging childhood fear of the dark. On her way, Pamela was approached by a Mayan elder with a drum and two women. The four of them scaled the barbed wire fence surrounding the ancient holy ruins and climbed to the top of what’s called the “Citadel” across from the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Pamela sang herself into a trance-like state for over two whole hours while the old man played his drum.
The next morning before sunrise she went back to the temple and pyramids where a crowd of pilgrims, who unbeknownst to Pamela, had been sleeping all throughout the ruins while she sang the night before, profusely thanked her for cleansing their sacred site with her voice, telling her that their ancient messiah and deity Quetzalcoatl, could now rise up and fly across the sky bringing light and learning across the world. An old Mayan medicine woman handed her a beautifully hand-crafted arrow, decorated with many colored threads, feathers and animal skins and asked her to carry the arrow up the steep crumbling steps to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun for her, since she was no longer able to make the arduous climb herself. Pamela did climb the pyramid’s treacherous steps at sunrise and she still has that arrow on top of her piano. This amazing experience is captured in Pamela’s haunting song "AVENUE OF TEARS". After returning to the United States, Ms. Ruby decided to record her first CD justly entitled HIGHWAY OF DREAMS and voila, the rest is her-story!
Pamela has produced a CD that bravely shares her joys and sorrows, her delight in the mystery that is life, with her listeners. Take this opportunity to experience a truly inspired and gifted talent. Let Pamela Ruby Russell's HIGHWAY OF DREAMS take you on a lovely journey. Give a listen to her songs, and you will just have to have your own CD of HIGHWAY OF DREAMS!!
Sit back, take a breath and smile!
REVIEWS, COMMENTS & PRAISE:
AF COLLECTIVE RADIO SPRING 2009 CONTEST RESULTS: [Judges’ Remarks]
“A wide open roots-inflected sound with a vocal sound that hovers over it all. Artist gives the band plenty of room and they make good, empathetic use of the space. There’s an attractive positivity here, a genuine charm and a sense that the artist is reaching out to the listener. Make You Cry is a good example of this. As an aside, some lovely welcoming intros here, a true art in itself..”
“Interesting vocal range!!”
“Boxcar is lyrically very good, the vocals are what stand out for me for Pamela. Walk through Fire was very mysterious sounding, with a real enchanting vocal; I'm really a fan of Pamela. Musically excellent.”
“Beautifully crafted songs great arrangements and a beautifully mature voice. Superb!”
“Fantastic variation of instrumentation from excellent band keeping interest in each new song with strings, sax and accordion coming in as extras to keep you guessing.”
“Nice diversity of songwriting/arranging and after reading the bio I can see why!”
“PRR has an aerie kind of voice, almost mythical, as she sings often of loss. There is a lilting hint of Celtic in there, with the fiddles and other strings. One of my fave cuts is “Make You Cry.” The guitarist, Peter Calo, is someone I admire for both his solo work and collaborations with other artists. [Carly Simon & Mary Gatchell]
HIGHWAY OF DREAMS
PAMELA RUBY RUSSELL
"HIGHWAY OF DREAMS"
10 SONG CD
PAMELA RUBY RUSSELL &
ALL MUSIC GUIDE REVIEW
"Tengo Razon," a beautiful essay, is sung in Spanish, embellished by Evan Harlan's accordion, which is on four of the ten tracks that embody Highway of Dreams by Bostonian Pamela Ruby Russell. An album that boasts Carly Simon guitarist and arranger Peter Calo playing numerous instruments and co-producing, 'Til Tuesday guitarist Robert Holmes, and others finds incredible unity and a truly original sound. "Avenue of Tears" combines these talents for a rather complex presence behind Russell's dominant voice. The pan flutes and charango of Roberto Cachimuel play along the dirge-like guitar. Imagine Black Sabbath getting subdued and backing Marianne Faithfull. Comparisons will also be made to Loreena McKennitt, with lots of haunting keyboards, voices, and flutes finding their way into these folk-rock arrangements. Calo is a formidable talent, and he brings so much out of Russell -- the party atmosphere of "Is There Any Love" takes the sounds Lulu and Twiggy were crafting in '60s pop, redefines them, and re-establishes them. Co-producer Bob Patton's baritone saxophone comes out of nowhere on "Is There Any Love," replaced by Ana Pacanoska's violin, more flutes, and more accordion. This music is dense and thought-provoking, but it doesn't take away from the performance. "Sounds of the Sea" features kena, soaring solos, and Miguel Jimenez on the pan flutes. Russell is a character, and her very serious music has a charm that many musicians fail to express in the recording process. "Boxcar" is a great opening, specifically the drone of "Walk Thru Fire" where "we glimpse through fire and the future." It feels like gypsies spying on a black mass listening to this tune -- incredibly moody and perceptive. There is little of the shrill homogenized Top 40 production that stops so many good records from becoming great. Ernesto Diaz plays strong gothic percussion on "Walk Thru Fire," setting up the listener for the tour de force performance: the title number. The singer walks across a roadway that reaches over water and into the stars with a full moon above her and a red rose piercing the blue. The cover is an exquisite reflection of this great song, with heavy contributions from Holmes. It's rare to find a statement like Highway of Dreams; music this good shouldn't get lost in the shuffle of life."
More lovely comments:
"This CD is a journey into Pamela's technicolor dreams. Exotic, lush, intimate, passionate and fun! A joy to listen to from beginning to end." - MARK BAXTER (Vocal Coach - Steven Tyler/Aerosmith, etc.)
"A beautiful album. A great mix of excellent songwriting and superior musicianship makes Highway of Dreams the best album I've heard this year." - SEAN WHEATLEY (DJ, Seattle, WA)
PLEASE NOTE: The below notice was from a few years ago, but it was a really interesting experience for me!!
LOCAL SINGER AND SONGWRITER TO APPEAR
Singer Songwriter Pamela Ruby Russell on TV's About the Arts
Date: Wednesday, December 04 @ 23:06:25 EST
LOCAL SINGER AND SONGWRITER TO APPEAR
ON ABOUT THE ARTS TELEVISION SHOW
Boston, MA - About the Arts the weekly cable television arts program goes behind the scenes with Jamaica Plain resident, singer and songwriter Pamela Ruby Russell on Tuesday December 10 and 17 at 7:00 PM on Channel 23 Boston.
About the Arts takes you behind the scenes with this engaging and passionate artist, from rehearsal with her Highway of Dreams Band, voice lessons with her long time vocal coach Mark Baxter to an interview where the artist shares some poignant personal moments of her life. Pamela Ruby Russell's voice and music will touch your soul. You can't help but be moved and inspired by this wonderfully talented performer.
About the Arts is a weekly cable television program, created in 1995 to provide exposure and visibility to the arts, bring local artists to the forefront and to present viewers with innovative and original arts programming, performing, literary and media artists.