Russ, where did you grow up?
Montgomery, AL. I lived in Mobile, AL for about 10 years. Iíve been in Atlanta since then.
What influenced you to get into music?
Iíve been into music for as long as I can remember. I started singing in the choir at church when I was six and continued until 12th grade. I took piano lessons from 3rd to 6th grade. I took a few guitar lessons but mostly taught myself.
Were you always into having a "band", or were you ever a "solo" artist?
I started playing in bands in high school. I love the comradery of the band experience. Iíve played solo shows, but for me itís always better having a group of folks who are committed to a project and making it happen.
So, how did The Moonshiners come together?
I had mostly played in cover bands; clubs, weddings and other events. I had been writing seriously for a few years and was going to Nashville cutting demos. A buddy was always telling me I needed to be singing and playing my own songs. I got a call about doing a show, but had to turn it down because I didnít have a band. That motivated me to start recruiting musicians for a band doing my songs. Weíve had a couple of changes in personnel over the past couple of years, but Iíve found a really good group of folks who are really talented and just nice people. The name of the band came from the connection with my last name. It seemed like a natural fit.
Who are the current members?
Ben Still (my son) - guitar
Cam Still (my wife) - keyboards
Chris Hinson - guitar
Ed Usher - bass and backing vocals
Kevin Pinson Ė drums
Rachel Rowland - vocals
Where do you all record?
I recorded half of the last record, White Lightnin', in Nashville and half at Ledge 7 Studios and Reveal Audio in Atlanta. Our latest single, Working Class Hunter, was recorded at my home studio.
Do you all collaborate in the songwriting process?
The process usually works with me writing the lyrics, melody and chords. I play the song for the band and then we start jamming on it, working on parts and arrangement. I really like the bandís input. For one thing, multiple ideas always make it better. I like the democratic process. Also, their participation gives them ownership in the finished product.
Tell us about your latest project?
I was just in the studio last week recording acoustic guitar and vocals on 6 songs for the next record. Weíve already cut one song, Working Class Hunter, which has been released on iTunes. Itís the theme song for a hunting show that will be on The Hunting Channel this summer.
What is your fanbase like?
Itís crazy. We have folks from all over the world following us. Of course many are in the States, but England, Canada, South America, India, Europe. Our deepest penetration is in Georgia as you might expect, but next is California, then Texas, then England. I have no idea how that happens. Women like us better than men and most of our fans are over 45 years old. But weíve got younger folks too.
We think they'll all great. They appreciate what weíre doing not only musically, but the fact that weíre connecting with them. We are truly interested in whatís going on in their lives. Iím writing emails and texts all day long staying in touch.
What can we expect from you in 2016?
Weíll hopefully have the record out by this summer. Weíve got some cool local and regional gigs coming up. Just making friends and playing lots of music. What more could we ask for?
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